Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is This Real Fantasy?

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” --Madeline L'Engle

Among the many side effects of NaNoWriMo is a distinct lack of free time to be used for writing a blog post for the TCWT blog chain. This is why I currently sit in my third-period AP Human Geography class on Wednesday morning, writing this post on a piece of loose leaf paper. So, with my pen at the ready, here I go.

YA literature (or Young Adult Literature) is a topic that is highly relevant to me. When your'e fifteen years old, you read YA and write YA. But that's the thing. My stories fall in the YA genre, according to some people, simply because they are aimed at teenagers. As a teen myself, though, I don't think of these books as "YA". To me, they are still fantasy and realistic fiction and the ever-dreaded nonfiction.

My NaNo novel this year is called The Time-Weaver. NaNoWriMo asked me to define the genre of my book, and I was left for the third year in a row to decide between "Fantasy" and "Young Adult". While I finally chose Fantasy, I was left a little miffed. Young Adult literature, like Children's or Adults', deserves its own set of genres. 'Young Adult' should be a descriptive phrase used to distinguish its subjects from books aimed at other ages, not to create a genre of its own. I find it rather insulting hear it called a genre, as if YA fantasy is somehow not "real" fantasy, or as though all the books aimed at adolescents are the same. That's saying that Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars belong in the same genre. In other words: utterly preposterous.

Let's put it this way: When I say "doctor", the first image most people see is (or at some point was) likely a man. This stereotype isn't true for me; my mom is a doctor. Does being a woman make her a worse doctor, or any less qualified? Of course not! The idea of YA lit being its own genre is, simply put, a prejudice. It is a prejudice against the idea that novels written for teens can be thought-provoking, or complicated, or more than, as we call them in my house, 'fluff'. John Green's books definitely aren't fluff, that's for sure!

Now, I agree that YA lit should be shelved separate from Adult books and Children's books, but YA lit varies as greatly as Adult literature and should be treated the same.

And now, if you'll excuse my past self, I must get back to my NaNo notebook.

Sorry for the short post. I know it's far below my usual standards, but I'll be back to normal next month. Oh NaNo, the things you make me post on my blog! :)


Blog Chain:

November 5th – – Musings From Neville’s Navel
November 6th – – This Page Intentionally Left Blank
November 7th – – It’s All In My Head
November 8th – – Miriam Joy Writes
November 9th –  – The Loony Teen Writer
November 10th – – Ink Spilled = Pages Filled
November 11th – – Inside the Junk Door
November 12th – – A Mirror Made of Words
November 13th – – Life.
November 14th – – Reality Is Imaginary
November 15th – – Books Are Better Than Diamonds
November 16th – – The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
November 17th – – Kirsten Writes!
November 18th – – Teens Can Write, Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)


  1. Oh . . . I forget to sign up for the tour this month. Great post though. :)
    ~Sarah F.

  2. I agree that it's not fair to call YA fantasy (or any other genre) "real" just because it's aimed at a younger age group. That being said, even the most highbrow of YA is written differently than much adult fiction due to the target audience. Sometimes I wish that Nanowrimo would allow you to pick 2-3 genres, as we all know that where a Nanowrimo novel starts is absolutely unrelated to where it ends. :)