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Author: Subject: Calling all readers of YA fantasy...
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[*] posted on 5-22-2010 at 06:31 PM
Calling all readers of YA fantasy...


I'm looking for opinions on the portrayal of teens in YA fantasy...positive, negative, something you think is important or something totally silly and irrelevant, stuff you heard from other people--whatever you want to throw at me.

Anyone?




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[*] posted on 5-25-2010 at 01:33 PM


Mm well basically I write mostly about teens in fantasy, but I don't know if it's something you can consider as YA. Perhaps it is. But I think everything is fine, as long as it's quite believable for a fantasy :)





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[*] posted on 5-26-2010 at 11:47 AM


Does anybody find that it's nearly always the same plot but in different circumstances? Or is that just me being cynical?

I mean, you have the MC girl that falls for the not so/mysterious guy that's in fact a [insert monster here] and that his family is a good family or he is just good compared to the rest of his race. And no, I don't mean only twilight, but it would apply quite well.

(is not slagging off as wrote a book like this last year)

Or maybe I just need to read better books... :-/

Perhaps the teenager shouldn't be a naive human for once, that would be nice.

So yeah, a negative look on YA fantasy, sorry I have no idea where that came from. :confused: It's not all that helpful either...
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[*] posted on 5-27-2010 at 11:54 PM


burttoast, I think that you're right about part of that, if not the whole statement, xD It's true that that seems to be an overwhelming theme in the fantasy published these days, and it's really ridiculous, for the most part. I went to the bookstore just yesterday to find something to read, and the majority of the books lying around in the YA fantasy book had the same exact plot that you just outlined.

Of course, that mostly regards the sub-genre of 'modern fantasy' - books where the setting is a 'realistic' modern-day setting with weird-type monsters/portals/magical beings running around causing chaos (this is obviously somewhat stereotypical, if you're looking for a really really good YA-geared modern fantasy novel that doesn't have these problems in the slightest, look for Rampant by Diana Peterfreund).

It seems to me that the genres of high-fantasy and futuristic fantasy/sci-fi have a lot more flexibility with more three-dimensional characters and (despite the other-worldly settings) more believable plots and character developement. For good examples of this, I would point to Chris Wooding's Poison, Stuart Hill's The Cry of the Icemark, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Exodus by Julie Bertagna.

Sorry my actual advice was kinda nonexistent, xD the best that I can really do is point you towards the people/works that I feel can epitomize the best of the best for this subject, and I hope that it was somewhat helpful at least /:

[Edited on 5-28-2010 by -Julie-Marie-]




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[*] posted on 5-29-2010 at 05:31 PM


I think there is a lot of good YA fantasy out there... however, since the Twilight got popular (and god knows how that happened) there've been a lot of authors... shall we say, riding on smeyer's coattails.

It's hard to find good YA urban fantasy, but Charles de lint isn't bad at it. And ohmygod, holly black. She's amazing. "Going Bovine," by Libba Bray - if you consider it fantasy, taking the end into consideration. Er, that was vague... it's hard to describe that one without spoiling it.

On the side of high fantasy, Tamora Pierce is a favorite of mine. Historical teen fantasy wise, I would check out the Gemma Doyle series - I couldn't put that one down.

YA fantasy is my favorite genre - but I put down a book quickly if I catch even the faintest scent of a cliche.




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[*] posted on 5-30-2010 at 04:32 PM


Thanks guys - I just want various opinions, so it's all helpful!



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[*] posted on 6-8-2010 at 01:05 AM


I have to say Tamora Pierce is by far my favorite YA author. She does everything right in my opinion, as she balances romance and action, and has an actual plot.
Actual advice:
I find books that are totally focused on a romantic relationship between two teenagers boring.
My biggest problem with YA fiction lately is the lack of plot. I don't find a girl falling for a guy who doesn't even look at her, and then suddenly becoming the center of his world a plot. Hence what I said above.
I'm fine with reading a book with cliches as long as it hasn't been rehashed in every other book on the self. If I'm spending my time on cliches it won't be on whatever one is currently popular.




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[*] posted on 6-10-2010 at 01:28 PM


The portrayal of teens can be a double edged sword. It works if you are around teens alot, if you aren't, say goodbye to ya. :)




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[*] posted on 6-11-2010 at 12:18 PM


I read a really good YA fantasy once called The Naming by Allison Croggon. One of those things with a lot of name generating and map drawing on the author's part, as it's an entire new world (like in LOTR). Also, the time period could be closely described as Middle Ages/Renaissance. The magical part of the world wasn't hidden (like in, say, Harry Potter) and there was adventure. I like adventure/action in the story; it's less likely that I'll be bored.

Hope that helped some, love.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2010 at 09:18 PM


I read a lot of YA fantasy, but it's mostly by authors who have been writing for years: Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Avi, Eve Ibbotson, Ursula K. LeGuin, etc.

The problem I see with many YA fiction in the recent years is that they use the same plots without much creativity, if you get my drift. I mean, most stories essentially have the same plots, but the way a writer takes that plot and writes their story and adds details and twists to make it creative is what makes it an interesting read for me. It doesn't matter if it's the typical good vs. evil or boy-meets-girl-and-saves-the-world plot. How it's told makes the world of difference.

That said, I've been seeing a lot of stories about vampires and werewolves around ever since Twilight became popular. Not that these stories weren't there before, but it saddens me to see that these stories are starting to be, well, cookie-cutterish.
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[*] posted on 6-25-2010 at 04:10 PM


Teens in YA fantasy tend to get themselves into just as much trouble as teens in real life do (hehehe...) but they get into more fantastic situations.

Then again, I don't read most YA fantasy, or at least most YA fantasy aimed at the female demographic. Twilight and other such stories don't really hold my attention (especially when it takes 13 chapters to reveal what's on the back of the book and what's the main selling point of the book).

I mostly read Scott Westerfeld (though, he's sci-fi/steampunk-as-of-Leviathan), Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow (though he's also more sci-fi), etc.

Hope I could help! :D




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[*] posted on 6-26-2010 at 03:06 PM


I'm surprised no one's mentioned The Hunder Games by Suzanne Collins. Technically, I would call that fantasy. Futuristic, but fantast nonetheless, and the plot is definitely better than a lot of other books I've read. I typically read YA fantasy, and, yes, there's a lot of books that are alike, but some are a lot better than others.

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[*] posted on 7-1-2010 at 07:21 PM


I read a lot of YA fantasy. My favourites are DWJ, JKR, Diane Duane, Robin McKinley -- that's all I can think of now. But I don't like how hard it is now to find YA fantasy that's not about vampires (vampire romance, usually). Seriously, /they're all the same./
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[*] posted on 7-1-2010 at 09:00 PM


I think Cassandra Clare did AMAZING with her books, The Mortal Instrument series. It was nice because the romance was complicated... and not over-cheesy. She also created her own world in our world, like Jo Rowling has. I really wanna try some Holly Black, I heard she was good.



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[*] posted on 7-13-2010 at 03:05 PM


Quote: Originally posted by burnttoast  
Does anybody find that it's nearly always the same plot but in different circumstances? Or is that just me being cynical?

I mean, you have the MC girl that falls for the not so/mysterious guy that's in fact a [insert monster here] and that his family is a good family or he is just good compared to the rest of his race. And no, I don't mean only twilight, but it would apply quite well.


I'm actually kinda poor at reading, so I don't know if much of published YAF falls into the girl-with-monster-boy category. But personally I'm writing YAF and my story's no where near this set up :) In a way I really like cliché fantasy. Sometimes its just nice to read. But on the norm I prefer more original works. Especially if stories have that unique something that other stories really haven't before :)
(BTW, there's a synopsis of my story on my profile if you wanna check. I can't be bothered to re-type :P)

What I prefer in a YA Fantasy is a character who has a positive outlook on life and is striving for some kind of goal. Also I like the use of magic/the supernatural that the story has more often than occasionally. I'm reading
Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn right now (Japanese historical fantasy) and it's good and all, but I keep thinking: 'so when do we get to the part where Takeo uses his powers again?'

The things that make me put a book down quickly:
-The protagonist is feeble from the start on through. S/he has no goals or hopes for the future and is certain of his/her inability to cope and never really grows out of it.
-Too much explanation of magical/supernatural terms/systems in one bunch and not enough action.
-Virtually no use or presence of magic/supernatual/whatever (I mean, it's meant to be a fantasy after all :))

Hope I was of some help. :)





[Edited on 13-7-2010 by Monkey_With_Fanta]




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