*Phew* what a blog post name! Haters, please hold the hating. YA writers, stay with me. I have a point. And it's not against YA as a genre (you know me better!). No, this post is about identity.
I'm picking on YA in particular because it's a world I know fairly well. Thanks to all the lovely, helpful blogs, websites, and twitterfriends I get to read everyday, I know it significantly better than my own market. I've met the nicest people with the best intentions who have helped me grow in leaps and bounds.
Here's the thing: It's very easy for writers - any people, really - to stereotype other writers. Especially when they're not visible face to face. And when people visit my blog or read the query for my story, they see a 20 year old female with an obsession for writing and a big smile. They may also see my obsession for fantasy books, the Legend of Zelda poster on my wall, and my slight fixation with Firefly. So, this is the question I get a lot.
"So, your fantasy book is young adult, right?"
Well, thank you for asking - that's very kind - but it's actually not.
I understand the confusion. I'm a fairly young writer and YA is a very exciting genre to get into right now. (This, by the way, is what I resent about it. The assumption that most new authors want to write the hot new thing.) I have young protagonists, there's family struggles, and, um, a bit of angsty romance. Sort of. (Angsty mayn't be the right word) But a young protagonist does not a YA fantasy make. Many adult fantasy/sci-fi novels have a young protagonist. Jim Butcher's Codex Alera is one series, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time is another. This leads to a discussion of what DOES make a YA novel YA, but that's for another post.
When I think of YA writer, I think of young women in their mid 20s to mid 40s, usually with kids. When I think of a science fiction writer, I usually think of a middle aged man who's growing bald. When I think of a horror writer, every single author takes on the face of Stephen King. When I think of a romance author, I think of women with long hair biting the ends of pens as they write their stories long-hand. I can't help it.
Knowing all of you has helped shift that.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's easy to make assumptions. It's sort of necessary to function as a human being. I'm also saying that those assumptions should be held loosely, ready to fall the second they're contradicted. New authors don't always write YA - even if it makes the most sense for them to write in that genre. Fantasy authors aren't always caught up in a dreamland, some of them are the most down-to-earth people you can imagine. Thriller authors do not all relish the sight of blood. Not all paranormal writers are edgy. Not all literary fiction authors are condescending toward 'genre writing'. Really. I promise.
So I have an idea: let's stop the assumptions! Let's have a get-to-know-you day, a day where we ask obvious questions we've assumed the answers to. Spread the word! Let's have the blogging world be a little less self-assured and a little more questioning - in the good way.
1. Do you actually like blogging?
2. Are you happy with your writing? I mean, really - are you glad you do it?
3. What genre do you write, and what do you read?
4. What was the first 'big' blog that you fell in love with? You know, the one with 300+ followers and OMG how'd they EVER get that many and look how funny and helpful they are and how much awesome OMG! Or... did you not have one? (No assumptions! :D)
Oh, and feel free to ask me questions too! If I get any, I'll address them on Friday, and we can get to know each other better!
Oh oh oh! P.S.! MEGA congrats to Miriam Forster for selling her book HOUSE OF A THOUSAND DOLLS to HarperCollins! EEK!