Fantasy or YA Fantasy

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Nyrak
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Fantasy or YA Fantasy

Post by Nyrak » March 18th, 2010, 8:21 pm

Question for you guys. I'm working on a fantasy novel that I've been working on forever. I started it years ago, before the recent popularity of YA (and to a lesser extent, MG).

I always just categorized it as 'fantasy' even though my MC is an 11 year old girl, and the secondary MC is a 14-15 year old boy. Now that I've dusted it off and I'm tinkering with it again, what genre is this sucker? Fantasy, MG Fantasy or YA Fantasy? Obviously, each sub-genre has different word length recommendations and audiences, and that will probably change how I structure some of it. Plus, if I ever finish, I have to know what to call it in a query... ;)

Thoughts?

k.

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christi
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Re: Fantasy or YA Fantasy

Post by christi » March 18th, 2010, 8:49 pm

What I've discovered as I've been jumping the fence back and forth, that it's not so much the age of the characters but the pacing, the word count, and the tone of the book. A book that is deeply emotional with slower pacing, over 90,000 words, and has strong language or violence might not be YA just because the characters are kids. I had to bow out of YA because of my book's content, and now I'm querying it as contemporary fantasy (which means in modern day, in case 'contemporary' made you think it was something else).
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polymath
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Re: Fantasy or YA Fantasy

Post by polymath » March 18th, 2010, 10:31 pm

I tend to view middle-grade literature as suiting nine- to fourteen-year-olds' reading comprehension skills, who are capable of learning information from what they read, but not as able as older readers to analyze what they read or understand points of view different from theirs or think as critically.

Parents, guardians, and library and school panels tend to control what middle-grade readers read. As a consequence, much of the middle-grade reading group literature is didactic (teaching) in nature. Since readers in that age bracket have mostly issues with school settings, besides family and immediate neighborhood issues, middle-grade literature tends to orient around school settings and coping with the hardships of school, neighborhood, and family life. Rowling's Potter saga is a prime example of academic setting genre. I've noted from tutoring reading to middle-graders they tend to prefer slightly older viewpoint characters than themselves.

Young adult readers are generally ages fourteen to eighteen, but I've noted the core group can range as old as twenty-five, and of course beyond, reaching into older brackets of eternally young-minded readers. Again, parents and library and school panels tend to control what younger ages read. but older ages enjoy more independence and work around controlling restrictions. I certainly did. Also, again, young adult readers tend to prefer slightly older viewpoint characters.

Young adult issues are different than middle-graders', dealing more with self-identity establishment than coping with the rigors of academic, neighborhood, and family settings, per se, more the social issues of young adulthood and peer cohort acceptance encountered in school and social settings. Young adult literature generally emphasizes coming of age genre, which is still somewhat didactic. I'm hard pressed to come up with a young adult literature title that doesn't in some large way relate to coming of age initiation.

Both middle-grade and young adult readers are inclined toward the inherent wish fulfillment of author surrogacy genre, favoring favorable outcomes with poetic justice conventions common to Romance movement literature.

Adult literature deals with issues outside of the normal social issues, experiences, obligations, and privileges of young adults. Adult readers are more inclined to less or no author surrogacy and not too unfavorably inclined toward unfavorable outcomes or controventions of poetic justice, more in the Realism movement camp, or Modernism or Postmodernism movements.

So deciding what age range a story fits into can be determined by viewpoint characters' ages, personal issues, outcomes, and readers' reading comprehension and critical thinking level. Conversely, writing to a target audience bracket focuses on similar factors. For me, appealing to an audience is all about establishing rapport.
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Nyrak
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Re: Fantasy or YA Fantasy

Post by Nyrak » March 19th, 2010, 9:23 am

Thanks so much. I think it's definitely not MG. I'll keep tackling it from the approach of just plain fantasy until it's finished and then see what I have. :D

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