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Two Problems I Have with (Some) YA Fiction

I’m gonna get the disclaimers out of the way first. I don’t have it out for Young Adult fiction. I respect the work that goes into it, because writing anything is hard. This post does NOT say anywhere that YA fiction sucks (except the three words before this parenthetical aside) or that it’s all terrible or anything like that. Some is terrible, certainly. But I am not attacking ALL YA fiction. I have some problems with every genre, from fantasy (chainmail bikinis! Dual-wielding rangers!) to science fiction (convoluted science-like mumbo-jumbo! Space-suit bikinis!) to zombie stuff (zombies with a twist! Survivors in bikinis!) and on and on. So just so we’re clear: I do not hate ALL YA fiction. Just some. Here’s why.

I’ve written a lot of shit in my day. Some would argue that it’s pretty much all I write, and to that I say, meh, okay, solid point. I’ve written training manuals, software help files, fantasy, horror, fantasy horror, fantasy training manuals of horror, exercise DVD reviews, football articles, farm tour memoirs, restaurant reviews – you get the point. I feel like I can write in pretty much any genre if I get inspired, from romance to fanfic to tourist guides and so forth. There is, however, one genre I could never write:

Young Adult fiction.

I can’t do it. I can’t imagine doing it. It would be impossible for me to have the perspective necessary to pull it off well. However, like any critic, I sure know how to bitch about something I can’t do.

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Oh, Just Publish the Fucking Thing Already

This post is likely to be a minority view. It certainly goes against a lot of conventional wisdom. But it’s a viewpoint, maybe worthy of consideration, maybe not. Your mileage may etc etc.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how other writers go through the process of putting words onto paper (both virtual and actual). Some of it is about how they write, what they listen to, their favorite chair. Other parts are about how they either plan to or already market their work. The rest of the time, though, it’s all about The Rest of It. The publishing aspect. Critiques. Discussions. Edits. The birth process from Unpublished to Published. The messy, bloody, screaming struggle to bring something into the world that fills you with joy and wonder, and eventually, the panicky thought what the fuck do I do now?

I want to talk about that part.

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