Monday, October 17, 2011

Feeling Lonely in the Blogosphere

You ever have those times when you're feeling down about something and you know that your feelings aren't really logical or fair but knowing that doesn't make them go away either and you just feel like if you don't get it off your chest you'll scream? It's like this, I know what I'm about to say might not go over well. But if blogs aren't for revealing all your dirty secrets to the point that no one likes you anymore then what are they for, I ask you? So here goes...

I'm sick to death of YA.

And when I say that I don't mean I'm sick of reading it, because I'm not sure if I ever have read any. I don't even know where YA starts and stops. But I'm sick of it being... just... everywhere.

Some days it feels like all anyone in the blogosphere writes is YA and they're constantly talking about it and praising it and acting like it's the best thing since the advent of civilization.

And I get it, you know? My logical mind totally gets it. But every time I click on a blog post that's just going on and on about YA this and YA that... I just feel like I'm on the outside and I'll never fit in.

Because YA, to me, is somewhat lower on the totem of important things than, say, ceiling fans and laundry baskets to pick a couple of random things in the room around me that I could definitely live without.

I'm pretty sure I never really read YA. At least, not in the "I'm going to read the crap out of this book because it's YA and YA is awesome" sense. When I was a teen I pretty much just jumped right into the adult section. Man, I remember clearing out the Shakespeare section of the library after my first encounter with Romeo and Juliet in Freshman year of High School. (I also remember accidentally picking up a somewhat risque romance novel set in 18th century France that my mother would definitely not have approved of but that's another story.)

So I guess while I can acknowledge it intellectually part of me doesn't understand why everyone is obsessed with the doings of obnoxious teens. I mean, I wasn't, not even as a teen. I preferred to read about adults. And another part of me can't quite wrap my mind around why so many adults want to both read and write about teens as their chosen career. Seriously? Don't you want to leave that awful decade behind you just a little?

But really this isn't about YA,  it's all about one very simple thing: I feel lonely in the blogosphere.

I came here to meet and mingle with people who are passionate about the same thing I am passionate about: writing stories. And I have. I've met tons of you and you're all fantastic.

But sometimes just the commonality of "we're all writers here" isn't quite enough. Sometimes I really want to find and get to know people who are passionate about Fantasy. And I have. The Patform Building Campaign gave me a list of dozens of writers who consider themselves writers of fantasy. But I go through those lists most of them end up being writers who write YA Fantasy which... I have very little interest in. And then another large percentage of them end up being writers of Urban Fantasy or some kind of Paranormal fiction. (Or both at the same time!) Which again I have very little interest in. Another group of them will be writers who categorize themselves as writers of "Science Fiction and Fantasy" but all the evidence points to them being mostly Sci Fi writers.

And I don't have anything against these writers. Obviously all of these subgenres share a connection. But Urban Fantasy and Paranormal and anything YA... I just can't even feel a good spark of interest in. I like Sci Fi, but it's not a genre I could ever be passionate enough to write in.

I have to admit that actually I am looking for people who are passionate about Epic Fantasy, or Imaginary World Fantasy. And even more specifically I am hoping to find other people who have a deep love for sub-creation and mythopoeia. Basically, I desperately want to find other people like me. Because I feel very much alone with my passion for a certain type of Fantasy. And that scares me. Sometimes it makes the little voices in my head say, "Maybe you are the only one. Maybe your stories will never sell."

My rational brain knows that can't be true. The Lord of the Rings wouldn't be the most popular Fantasy novel ever if that was true. But doubts have an awful way of sticking with you no matter what your rational brain says.

But besides all of that, there is just a part of every person that wants to befriend others who are like them, who think the same ways and love the same things. Sometimes the broad categories aren't enough. "Writing" isn't enough. "Fiction" isn't enough. "Fantasy" isn't even enough anymore. I crave the fellowship of people like me, who have a deep love and abiding passion for mythopoeic (literally: myth making, fantasy that attempts to create whole mythologies and is influenced by our real world mythologies) sub-creation (a deeper kind of worldbuilding) for adults.

Is it too much to ask?

Perhaps it is. Perhaps the writing blogosphere will always be mostly YA writers. But at least this little rant has helped to relieve some of the oppressiveness of the loneliness.

I hope all of you YA lovers can forgive me.


  1. I wrote a cool post and the internet ate it. But I agree with you so dangit, I'm posting again! (shakes grumpy fist at internet)

  2. *hugs* I feel you Sarah. Sad thing is, somehow people keep calling my wip a YA. It isn't. Not even close, but since everyone writes YA, they assume everyone else does too.

    I hope you can find more writers who write in your genre. My wip is taking on more of a fantasy feel, but it isn't quite what you're describing. I did create my own world full of its own history and myths, but they've all been forgotten by the inhabitants. Book one starts to re-introduce them and by the end of book four we even solve the creation myth for this planet. It is mixed with sci fi elements though.

    What you describe sounds fascinating, and I bet you are great with your organization skills to build such in depth worlds. You can't be alone, there are just so many people to wade through.

    Good luck!

  3. I hear what you are saying--it isn't within my experience because I am one of those YA writers. But I've wondered as well why it seems like there are so many, many of us.

    What's funny is that in the non blogging writerly world, I've found YA to be a much smaller subset. In my experience most writers are not YA writers. It's just that all those other writers don't seem to blog as much. It is a disconnect that I can't figure out.

    Anyway, all I can do is offer up a few fantasy blogs/authors with the hope that there are a few you aren't following yet.

  4. I have a friend who writes literary and she feels the same way. It just seems that the majority of bloggers write YA or MG. If I come across any I'll send you a link.

    Hang in there you're not alone.

  5. Hmm. I can see your point. The thing is, it seems to be that a lot of the blabbing about YA that goes on is all about the YA I was never interested in - action!! vampires!! TV tie-ins!!
    I was the same as you - started reading from the adult section very early. On the other hand, I also read a lot of MG/YA, but it was never labelled as such back then. It was just the latest book by Jean Little or Judy Blume or EL Konigsburg or Katherine Paterson or Kit Pearson, etc., or a pile of offerings from Scholastic, or a classic (the Anne of Green Gables series, for instance). And I loved them and read them and sometimes I still reread them.
    And today's YA releases - for the most part - seem to be a far cry from those books that I loved.
    There are a few though... Local Montreal author PJ Bracegirdle has a great one called The Joy of Spooking (three books, actually), which is sort of old-fashioned, sort of fantastical, and all around delightful.

  6. I also enjoy epic fantasy, although I don't think I'd be very good at writing it. My style tends toward the whimsical and I suspect that doesn't translate very well to the richer settings and deeper concepts of that genre. Creating the fantasy world would be fun, but I have doubts about my ability to portray that world adequately with words - at least not without a lot more practice with writing.

    Not very big on YA, myself - or at least what most YA authors would consider YA.

  7. Blogger buddies Ted Cross and Susan Gourley both write adult fantasy! So does Mel, the Caledonia Lass. So they are out there.
    And I went straight from reading kids books to adult fantasy and science fiction as well.

  8. I just met another adult fantasy writer over at:

  9. L, I will assume that your original comment was witty and brilliant in every way.

    Charity, yours sounds fascinating too! I've always been a sucker for lost civilizations.

    Heidi, I've often wondered about the phenomenon. Possibly it's because the YA category is exploding recently that now there are a lot more up and coming writers than there would normally be? Perhaps we just have to wait for time to equalize things? Thanks for the links.

    Patti, so maybe it's mostly a blogger phenomenon? That's doesn't help me though. ;)

    Deniz, you may not write what I write but I still feel you are a kindred spirit. My thinking exactly. I can still enjoy the occasional book written for the younger age bracket when it isn't so modern, all sparkly vampires and high school angst. Anne of Green Gables has always been a favorite.

    Chemist Ken, I have doubts about my ability to portray my imaginary world as well, but that's not going to stop me from trying!

    Alex, I believe I'm already following all of them, but thanks.

  10. ROTFL! I love this post! And I hear ya!

    I have a lot of friends who write YA, but it's simply not up my alley. I was glad to leave my teen years behind. I sure as hell don't want to revisit them.

    Epic fantasy has dwindled dramatically since the 70s. Back then, that was ALL I read. It still has an audience even if it is a shadow of its former self. That's just the way the world turns.

    But not to worry. There are plenty of writers and readers who still prefer adult fiction. The YA folks are just louder than us. ;-)

  11. I understand completely. If C.S. Lewis was writing today, he'd be lumped in with YA, and I don't think he is. I struggle with what to call my book, because it has kids in it, and people will want to put it in YA, but I view it as a fantasy. And not an urban fantasy, although it has a real-world basis, but a modern fantasy.

    And the next big project in my head is completely an epic fantasy type story.

  12. Authors are just ordinary people...they're greedy to a fault. YA happens to be a huge loot bag right now so every writer under the sun wants a piece of the pie. Most of them are stay-at-home moms desperate to prove their worth to the person that is presently bringing home the money. Don't fault them for wanting to cash-in. The only thing that I don't like is people aren't honest about why they write YA. They say stuff like, "I'm so driven...writing is in my soul..." Nope. I say, "You're just greedy like the rest of us. Have a seat and try to cash in and we'll throw confetti at you when you make your haul."

  13. Maria, I don't think the readership has really dwindled all that much. But it does feel like the amount of quality offerings in the genre has. I think (when I'm feeling positive) that a lot of people are just waiting for more great stories.

    Andrew, I admit to not being clear on what exactly constitutes YA, but Narnia is definitely not it! But then, there always been a lot of great fantasy lumped into Children's books when it doesn't really belong there either.

    Michael, I'm a pretty cynical person, but you're in a league of your own. ;)

  14. lol at some of these comments. :) Kudos for making me giggle!

    Sarah, I get it. I absolutely, whole-heartedly GET. IT.

    I write more MG-based adventure fantasy and even then I feel like it's a lonely blogosphere. No, I don't have burping, farting, or boogers in my book. Nor do I have sports. I have adventure and inklings of magic. And that's interesting enough for me.

    You are not alone, I assure you. High fantasy is not easy (and no, I'm not saying YA is) to create. I know when I created my fantasy story for the 2009 NaNo, it took more time to figure out the rules of my new world than I ever could've imagined. It's a labor of love, but other epic fantasy blogger/writers are out there. I have faith!

  15. I've read a little YA, a few of the Potter books, and I enjoyed them pretty well. But I feel where you're coming from, especially as a writer of historical fantasy--there do seem to be more YA writers than adult epic fantasy writers.

    I don't think that's really a problem, though it's nice to find people writing closer to the genre I write in. But it's not like I'm about to run out of reading material for epic fantasy.

  16. Sarah: I'm with you. It's the whole thing of "jumping on the bandwagon" and formulas (the formula now being: write/read YA stuff. It's one area that is highly being pushed.

    When I was a teen..well, we had rocks. And we liked it! :)

    Teen years? Those were the years I read Science Fiction by the masters of scifi, and did my existentialist reading: Camus' The Stranger is STILL one of my favorite books.


  17. TL, I think I've actually read more MG than I have YA and I get the impression that the MG I have read it more entertaining and mature than most of the YA I have heard about. High Fantasy is hard, but that's one reason I love it. Also, I like making the rules. ;)

    Matt, yeah, I suppose part of the Harry Potter series qualifies as YA. It's a bit weird when it starts out as MG and morphs into YA part way through the series just because the MC grew up. Makes me suspect that these designations are somewhat idiotic.

    BornStoryteller, some of them are obviously jumping on the bandwagon, but a large number of them do appear to be VERY, almost MILITANTLY passionate about YA. And I guess that's the part that makes me the most jealous. A lot of YA writers seem to be WAY more passionate about what they're writing than pretty much all the Epic Fantasy writers I've seen. Ah well.

  18. Ditto, Sarah.

    When I write or read in YA its just that the protag happens to be a teen, but doesn't have the teen angst issues (ie Eragon). Give me an epic fantasy any day, something so heavy I have to leave the purse behind to pack the book.

    As with all genres, someone has to write them, and I don't see MG or YA being as well written by the target audiences. And perhaps Michael O is correct; YA writers are more the stay at home types who have the time to blog consistently, so they SEEM more prevelant. And maybe us adult fiction writers are more focused on getting through our multiple functions in life (work, family, friends, home chores, writing) to spend much time blogging about our writing journey's. Who knows.

    But like any trend, the blogverse will roll on, and who knows what the next "most popular" genre will be. It only takes one bestselling novel to change the marketing tides. It could be you - or it could be me - that upsets the fantasy cart.

    Keep to your original ideas, but maybe write something to the market occasionally, just to get your name out there.

    Patience, Precious; we'll gets what we wants ;)


  19. PS: where's your Ren3 post? I was hoping to learn more about The Lady . .


  20. Ahaha, I totally get this Sarah! I actually enjoy a lot of YA fantasy, but it does seem to be creeping in everywhere lately. And agents seem to be eating it up almost exclusively.

    Like Donna, I miss good ole epic fantasy, too!

  21. Yes, you're forgiven. I dabble a bit in everything, including middle-grade, young adult, urban fantasy, science fiction, and high fantasy. So it sounds like I might be someone you'd dislike unless I'm in the right mood. :D

  22. Do you know SB's blog? Epic fantasy writer, very thoughtful poster.

    Good stuff.

  23. I write adult high fantasy! I dabble in sci-fi, but most of my manuscripts are fantasy.

    Someone was tried to call my current ms YA, but he didn't use that term ( I doubt he knows what it means), and I was like no. No. No. Granted two of the main characters start out as teens, but for the majority of the book, they are adults.

    I can understand how you feel about YA. It IS everywhere. I've been reading a lot of it lately for two reasons, 1: I'm playing catch up. Had no idea it existed until last year. 2: Most of the new fantasy coming out is YA. I've found that most adult fantasy is urban, which I like well enough, but I prefer high fantasy.

    We do need more adult fantasy.


Comments, Precious, we appreciates them!