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Author Topic: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?  (Read 16742 times)

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #45 on: July 01, 2016, 01:44:38 AM »

I am not sure if this is because I hold many young people in contempt, or because I hold their most popular works in contempt (Twilight? That's your generation's iconic work?). Don't misunderstand, I love young people, but I have a strong bias for the non-whiny, ambitious, and talented, and against their weaker counterparts. I know many YA who have fought and killed for their country, and faced terrible, complex problems - and knowing them, the genre leaves me feeling that they are poorly served by the genre that bears their name.

Unfortunately your comments about young people come across as ill informed and patronising, despite saying you "love young people".

No generation is ever better than another. Every single generation has it's own problems to deal with. Every generation has those who are lucky enough to work and those who are less fortunate but struggle to get by on a low income or are unemployed.

Not because they are all weaker or lazy, or lack ambition or have no talent. In the main for many social reasons such as lack of jobs, lack of training opportunities, poor education, and diminishing social responsibility by successive governments resulting in areas or strata of dysfunction that escalate through generations. Their individual talents remain undeveloped, their hopes and ambitions are thwarted unable to be realised.

Nowadays we are more aware of how society fails because we have instant and all inclusive media. Do you think in earlier times there were no such social problems? It is now most apparent how well it was hidden. I suspect some of your views are formed either from the gutter press or the entitled establishment media. The first loves to highlight demeaning scandal, the second enjoys showing how infinitely superior it  still is compared to the "undeserving poor."

Finally I am sorry you seem to represent the Grumpy Old Man stereotype, because in doing so, in a public forum of amazing young people, you are demeaning the millions of older people who, regardless of circumstance, appreciate, encourage and support the succeeding generations.

* Edited to remove my previous incorrect comments referring to soldiers and definition of young adult. YA officially appears to be twenty to thirty nine year olds although in publishing is more generally seen as ranging between twelve and twenty.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 03:32:11 AM by Lady_Ty »
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #46 on: July 03, 2016, 08:54:16 PM »
Lady Ty, I am well aware of my bias, and despite your detailed response, I don’t think you really looked at my post with very much detail. My post may have come across as ill-informed, but I am not. If I came across as patronizing, I assure you, that was not my intention. Allow me to expand and explain:
-   I do love young people. I spent most of my life working with them in very stressful situations, and admire young people who give their all, even when they do not succeed. I cannot prove this, but many of the younger people I have known remain my good friends, and have generously thanked me for my assistance to them as they crossed the threshold from following into leading things.

-   I admitted that I was biased, meaning your admonishing tone is redundant, as I already admonish myself. That’s what biased means - I understand that the way I feel is often unfounded and flawed. This bias arises when the faults of YAs in general are accompanied by faults of individual character, which seem to enhance one another. This is an illusion, but it does affect the way I look at YA when they whine and wallow. I hold mature and elderly people to the same standard – it just feels different. The same attitudes among older people come across as bitterness, etc., but it’s still the same whininess. The thread was focused on YA, so I didn’t mention this, as it seemed off the topic.

-   I never claimed the young today are any weaker, lazier, etc., than previous generations. I have no generational issues – I never said that I had an issue with today’s young people that I didn’t also have with their counterparts in previous generations. I know very well, as a father of three YAs that today’s YA face daunting challenges far beyond what my generation faced. So, pay better attention to detail, as your assumption that I did have a generational issue was unfounded and led to your unneeded explanation of how these modern times differ from earlier ones.

-   I actually admire today’s generation of YA in a lot of ways. As a class, they have outperformed previous generations in distinct ways. That said, through social media, the mediocre and substandard YA are louder and more clearly seen and heard than their older counterparts. Again, this leads to a bias (see definition): I do not doubt every generation has had the same dredges among them – we just see this generation’s more plainly as such.

-   I disagree that individual YA talents remain undeveloped, as there are countless examples of today’s YA succeeding, thriving, and accomplishing just as much and often more for their age than previous generations. Hence my bias – beside the excellent of today’s YA, the dredges seem even more “dredgy”.

-   Your suspicions of my views’ foundation in specific media are well off, meaning both inaccurate, and off-topic. You don’t know me, and your presumption is rude.

You read what you wanted to read from my lighthearted post, and took away what you wanted to, that I am some grumpy old man who thinks his generation was better. I am not such a person, and I frequently and passionately correct people who take that position.
I think a lot of successful YA works are overrated: Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, the list goes on. Not to say they aren’t without merit and value, I just believe there’s some conflation.
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"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #47 on: July 04, 2016, 02:20:15 AM »
The Gem Cutter, thank you for your reply and I appreciate your clarification.  I will respond properly as soon as I can, but it is school holidays here and cannot do so just yet.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
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Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #48 on: July 04, 2016, 01:51:08 PM »
I don't tend to touch modern YA (old favourites like Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen I will re-read every few years) but I've recently read book 1 and 2 of Taran Matharu's Summoner Series and really enjoyed it, a bit like Pokemon at Hogwarts in an epic fantasy setting. It might be YA fantasy but it still deals with some very serious issues like racism, prejudice, crime and consequences etc
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 01:54:41 PM by CameronJohnston »

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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2016, 03:12:54 PM »
It might be YA fantasy but it still deals with some very serious issues like racism, prejudice, crime and consequences etc
I'm quite similar to you and found the same with Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, that starts with The knife of never letting go - racism, genocide, sexism, individuality, consequences, difference and so on.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2016, 02:03:01 AM »
I think a lot of successful YA works are overrated: Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, the list goes on. Not to say they aren’t without merit and value, I just believe there’s some conflation.

I think a lot of successful adult works are overrated, The Da Vinci Code being the first example that springs to mind. Or a lot of Bryce Courtney's work. And within fantasy fiction, I think a lot of popular work is kinda same-old, not inspired in language use, nor engaging with interesting issues.

My point being: it's not just YA. So why blacklist an entire category just because it demonstrates similar tendencies to literature as a whole?

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #51 on: July 05, 2016, 03:58:32 AM »
Woah! Easy there Cupi!  :o Who said anything about blacklisting?!

Just because someone's pet genre isn't someone else's doesn't mean anything hateful or short-sighted is going on. The fact there is a popular thread with the title "Do you avoid YA?" that has been active FOR TWO YEARS suggests that maybe not everyone thinks YA is quite as star-spangled awesome as some others do. Maybe, there are reasons. Nahhhh!

I doubt anyone will be talking about Divergent or Hunger Games in 3 years, let alone 10 or 20. Now, Harry Potter is clearly YA, and is superior, by far, IMHO, and I believe in 20 years and perhaps beyond, people will still be reading and talking about Rowling's books, and Crichton's.

This is a writer's forum, so I thought we were talking about writing - and I don't personally have an interest in writing YA fiction as such; meaning, I might write a work that fell into the genre 'by accident', but I am not purposefully pursuing the genre's teen and low-20-something audience. This doesn't make me an anti-YA fanatic - I have neither a torch nor an anti-YA-genre sign. Neither witches nor witch-hunters here, thank you very much. (Any references to that stanchion of a YA franchise "Buffy" were unintended, and yet, eerily on-task)

By all means, defend YA fiction from its non-attackers loudly, and from the rooftops! Decry its vanilla, disinterested critics as short-sighted, unable to differentiate whatever from ... something else, whatever it takes. Take no prisoners! Point to the flaws it shares with other genres and claim reverse-age-discrimination - that should gain traction! As Colonel Mustard said in Clue: "This is war, Peacock! You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs - any cook will tell you that!"

Me, I'm going back to writing.

The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline cupiscent

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #52 on: July 05, 2016, 07:12:53 AM »
Sorry, Gem Cutter, you're right, "blacklist" has a much more negative connotation than your comments warranted, not sure where I pulled that vibe from.

But your comments have been very dismissive regarding YA - even though you note that you've realised your novel could be considered YA, but instead of digging into the genre and seeing if your work might fit, you're waving the entire thing aside because you're not interested. If you haven't looked (beyond the examples that are forced upon you by popularity), how do you know you're not interested? (Especially with YA being such a popular category at the moment, it's something to consider for any writer who wants to sell their work.)

YA gets a lot of negativity, and a lot of that negativity is kneejerk. That's a big part of why I like to encourage people to try YA with a little more open-mindedness. (There are lots of recommendations in this thread, if you're looking for places to start.)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #53 on: July 05, 2016, 07:50:28 AM »
Well, I have my own approach - not saying it's The Approach, or was conveyed to me by Angels, but my approach is to write my book with an eye to my audience. My themes include a lot of items that are always simplified in YA fiction (one could argue that the depiction of tyranny and rebellion in Hunger Games is an example - good explorations, but simplistic), and I want to get into the nuances and complexities.

And I am a writer, not a publisher or an agent. When I finish, if someone said "Dude, this would rock in YA" I would certainly listen - I don't know the markets. And I don't read much in the genre and prefer stuff that is solidly not YA - Bakker's Prince of Nothing series, etc.

So appreciate your passion, and I am not knocking the genre - I am just disappointed by the little of it I've seen, as I so often am by most books. I am finicky - I cut my teeth on the Hobbit at 5, the LOTR in 1st grade, the Silmarillion before I could ride a bike :)
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #54 on: July 09, 2016, 03:12:07 AM »

I am not sure if this is because I hold many young people in contempt, or because I hold their most popular works in contempt (Twilight? That's your generation's iconic work?). Don't misunderstand, I love young people, but I have a strong bias for the non-whiny, ambitious, and talented, and against their weaker counterparts.


My reaction and reply to your post sprang from your initial use of "contempt" in both instances above and applying it in an all encompassing, generalised and critical way.

On my understanding YA age groups for the purposes of this thread was twelve to twenty year olds. An age group still to reach full maturity of action and struggling to understand the multitude of responsibilities required of them. To use a noun associated with scorning and despising about such a generalised group or their reading choices seems to me harsh, patronising and judgmental in the extreme. You have since enlarged on your views but the initial post was uncompromising.

You may have considered YA to apply to a different age group, but my concern at the use of contempt in any generalisation still stands.

You then qualified this to say you loved young people but admitting still with a bias against generalised "weaker" counterparts, thus still implying criticism and that they did not have talent or aspire to ambition.

It was certainly rude of me to assume, and I apologise for my conclusion that your views were influenced by MSM sources that perpetuate the denigration of young people and encourage young versus old complaint. 

It is now clear that you reach your own views and conclusions through personal  experience as you have explained.

I also apologise to F-F for allowing this discussion to intrude on the main thread and consider it closed.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2016, 04:34:24 AM »
Judging an entire age category based on a few examples seems a little problematic to me.

I've read great YA, average YA, and bad YA. Like any other genre/age category, there's a wide variety, and the most popular works aren't always the best.

Also, YA can explore dark and complicated themes. A lot of writers avoid those themes because they're looking to have some crossover appeal into middle grade audiences (readers about 8 - 12 years old).

The age of the main character alone does not make a novel YA. If that were the case, a lot of popular adult fantasy novels would be YA. Like fantasy, YA has its own tropes and conventions. You can obviously deviate from these, but if you deviate too much, you're probably not going to find an audience.

I write adult, YA, and middle grade SFF. I have to consider each audience when I'm writing. What works for my adult readers may not work so well for my middle grade readers, and so on.

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2016, 07:07:11 AM »
I just need to see this, but I am so busy with Camp WriMo that squeezing out time even for this seems impossible. (since I write fantasy the least target I could set was 100k  :o )
But I will see if I finish my target word count today, I will reward myself seeing a legend interview my ideal...  :-*

Offline treadmikeway

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2016, 08:56:48 PM »
I don't personally avoid it. I just don't read it constantly, because a lot of times it just feels like mental popcorn. Very rarely is there any heavy-lifting. That's not a bad thing, either, as it's a good switch-up.

But it's not an all the time genre.

[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH9IO6iMO78 [/youtube]
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 08:58:21 PM by treadmikeway »

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #58 on: June 26, 2019, 10:33:36 AM »
@isos81

Here you go


You could say prince of thorns is YA as mc is young.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 10:41:31 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline isos81

Re: Do you avoid 'YA'? What does it mean?
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2019, 11:05:08 AM »
@isos81

Here you go


You could say prince of thorns is YA as mc is young.

Is YA used for the main characters? I always thought it was for the readers :)
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'