What do you think???

As I’ve been researching the YA fantasy market over the past year, I’ve run across a few interesting things.  First, a lot of fantasy in the “children’s” section is focused on middle grade.  Yes, there’s YA also, but it seems to me that a lot skips from middle grade all the way to adult. 

The second thing I’ve noticed as I’ve read agent blogs is that a lot of them want fantasy, but some only want urban fantasy, which really seems to be almost all the YA fantasy these days.  There are quite a few who don’t rule out the traditional quest fantasy, but then they stipulate it has to be new or different.

That leaves the question:  what really is new or different in traditional fantasy?  Many of these same agents, or others like them, also make comments that there are really only five or so different basic storylines.  What makes one book stand out, is the way that age-old story is told.

That leaves me to the question I’d like to know (and I used the cool new poll feature on wordpress).  For those of you who like fantasy, does it bother you to see the same story over and over again (you know, magic, overcoming the evil ruler, kingdom is at stake, etc.)?  I personally don’t mind it.  I mean, you always know the good guy is going to win, but how that ends up happening can be so different and if it’s interesting enough, I keep reading.

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5 thoughts on “What do you think???

  1. Most fantasy follows a fairly traditional formula. While I appreciate a unique plot/formula (and hope that what I’m writing qualifies), I also appreciate fantasy that follows the traditional formula in an exceptional way.

    As long as the characters drive the story, the traditional formula works. If the plot is the driving factor, the traditional formula feels too cliche.

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  2. I actually hate urban fantasy, heh. I enjoy quest adventures in far-away lands. I do get bored with the stereotypical medieval ones though–there lots of other lands to make up and explore.

    Of course, when I was a kid, there weren’t many YA fantasy novels. We had to settle for animal stories written from the viewpoints of the critters (and, no, you won’t convince me sapient animals who think in English are fantasy :P).

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  3. This reminds me of my current quest — If you are a male YA and don’t like fantasy/sf — what in the world do you read? and even if you read SF/Fantasy — so much of it is girlcentric. I wish I was a writer( I’m a librarian) becuase our boys are being neglected.

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  4. As far as what type of fantasy… it doesn’t really matter I think for YA.

    But what DOES matter is NOT treating your readers like children (even if they are). I can remember when my kids were in those awkward years between “Howard the Cow-Dog” and “Anything for Adults”… there was almost Nothing for them to read that wasn’t talking down to them like the were idiots.

    I think that is the primary reason that Harry Potter did so well. Millions of YA readers world-wide rejoiced with the fact that someone FINALLY wrote something for THEM!!!

    Good Luck with your work.

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