Monday, 28 March 2011

Is Fantasy Really DIfferent?

As you all know, I am a fantasy writer, a blogger, and a struggling query-er. Thanks to blogspot, I've gotten involved in this lovely circle of authors from all different genres, though the majority of you are YA, which is awesome!
Here's my question: Is it different?
There are definite similarities, I know. The writing has to be good, the characters have to be interesting, the novel has to have pacing. But what about other stuff? Scene length, background, pacing, it feels like these have to be different in a fantasy novel. But how, and why?
Any thoughts?


OOOH!!! P.S. !!!
I have 99 followers, guys! Guess what that means!! I'm gonna have me a contest!!
More details later, (after I figure them out) but I'm gonna have a couple prizes!!!! :D
BUT FIRST, I must get to 100 followers. :D So yeah!


L.G.Smith said...

Yes! Number 100!!! :)

Kathryn said...

I too am loving this YA-heavy world, even though I don't write it. Great question, and my two cents is that the difference between adult fantasy and YA fantasy is probably the tone of the writing (and I say this with hesitation, because I don't think it's always the case), and the history of the protagonists. While an adult protagonist and a teen protagonist might be given the same conflict or obstacle, how they approach it from their life experience already is going to be the difference between the two stories.

Just some thoughts. I'll have to think about it some more!

Yay, 100! Will be watching for the contest! :)

Bethany Robison said...

hee hee, I see you have 100 followers as I'm leaving this comment :). Good work!

The thing with fantasy (and sci-fi for that matter) is that the reader can't really take anything for granted. You have to build the world and establish the "Rules" that go with it. Half the fun of those genres is figuring that stuff out.

While I think YA as a genre is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be, it still has its own look and feelj (that is honestly kind of hard to pin down). If you study it, you know it when you see it... I don't know how else to describe it (but I'll work on it :)).

Some people say it has to do with the pacing and the age of the main character, but I think that's overly simplified. For example, I enjoy the BBC TV show "Merlin" and I'd contend that it might fit into the YA genre patterns and structures. We're watching the characters develop and come of age (even if we don't actually know how old they are).

Does that make any sense? I wonder if some "grown up" works are borrowing from that "look and feel" since it's been so successful, or if good stories just have similarities.

Kim Williams said...

Congrats on 100 followers.

Now, off to read more of your stuff.

Kelly M. Olsen said...

Triple digits...oooh!

Congrats, Bethany.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The differences between adult fantasy and YA are

Length : approx. 50,000 YA (though with fantasy it can go up to 75,000
approx. 100,000 Adult

Faster pacing with YA fantasy. Shorter scenes with more action, less reflection than in adult fantasy.

Focus on the protagonist learning a life lessson, teaching who he or she truly is and what life is really all about.

Focus on the hero journey talked about in Joseph Campbell's HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES.

Less depth on background. More focus on relationships and worries.

Hope this helps in some small way. Everything is relative, of course, and not written in stone. Trust your instincts. Look back on the YA fantasies you liked to read and see how they were constructed in relationship with length, pacing, scene length, and character development. Roland

Lisa Gail Green said...

You've asked a very good question! Typically you will find fantasy books to be longer because of the extra world-building involved. However a good fantasy novel is still about characters readers relate to. Likewise, a good contemporary novel for example, still has a whole new world that must be explored and understood.

Marsha Sigman said...

Congrats on the followers! As to your difficult question...I think the main difference is faster pacing and voice.

Also someone commented that YA was more about character life lessons? Easy on that. If you want to preach, go to church. If you want to entertain then tell a story. Let the reader figure out if there is a lesson to be learned.