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20 February 2007 @ 07:22 am
Q & A - #14 - "Have you ever written anything outside of your genre?"  
Q & A - #14 - "Have you ever written anything outside of your genre?" ~  ryan_field 

I understand this question, but I wish I could naively say I don't. I wish I could say, "I just write whatever moves me, regardless of what categories people try to put it in," but that wouldn't be true.

However, I wouldn't say I have a genre. My two novels are Young Adult, which in my humble (but right) opinion is an age demographic, not a genre. I mean, if Young Adult is a genre, then what is Young Adult science fiction? Young Adult fantasy? All sub-genres? Why would science fiction be a Main genre for adults, but a subgenre for Young Adults? Doesn't make sense to me either. 

Young Adult has all the same genres as Grownup Fiction (except erotica, right? Please say I'm right). The short stories I've written are for Grownups, but I'm serious craving the chance to write a few Young Adult short stories (a la Margo Lanagan). Even in my short stories, I wouldn't say I write for a genre. 

In a recent essay of mine that I've sent to the Alan review for hopeful publication, I define Young Adult this way: 

The label "Young Adult" refers to a story that tackles the difficult, and oftentimes adult, issues that arise during an adolescent's journey toward identity, a journey told through a distinctly teen voice that holds the same potential for literary value as its "Grownup" peers.

So if "my genre" is whatever genres I have written for thus far, then I think I can safely say I will continue to write outside my genre. My next Young Adult novel is going to be a historical fantasy/myth from 870 A.D. And I've got all kinds of ideas beyond that, but a man can only write one book at a time.
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Only 1 more question remains to be answered, so if you've got anything you wish you could know about me,
ASK IT HERE.
 
 
 
ryan_fieldryan_field on February 21st, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
Thanks for the answer...
Hey Jonathan:

Thanks for the answer. After I asked the question I smacked myself on the forehead because I sort of suspected you'd answer it like this after reading previous posts. I like that you mention YA is a demographic rather than a genre. When I personally read YA (or something "they" call YA) I simply view it as an adult, reading about young adults. Anne Tyler is one novelist who always seems able to cross the predicted lines of genre...some call her chick lit, some commercial, some literary, and even one, A SLIPPING DOWN LIFE, could be considered YA. Your approach sort of reminds me of hers...even the way you write. Thanks for the answer.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the answer...
No problem, for the answer. That's what I'm doing here, after all.

As to this Y.A. thing, I wrote a whole essay on it last semester. I just submitted it to the ALAN review. I'm into Y.A.
ryan_fieldryan_field on February 27th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the answer...
Let us know when it's published. There was just a comment on a blog page this week about chick lit and women's fiction and I have to admit to being a little confused about the differrence between the two...mainly because I don't read that sort of thing. But I do get what you're saying about YA.
mike|tedlost_child2 on February 21st, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
> I mean, if Young Adult is a genre, then what is Young Adult science fiction?

A high school English teacher (she was head of the school's Engl. department, so i usually trust her) told me that technically, "novel" or "short story" would be your genres and "science fiction" or "fantasy" would be your modes. Not sure where she got those definitions for "mode" and "genre."
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
She might have a point. I've used fiction/non-fiction/poetry as genres before. Though I must confess I've never heard any bunk about "modes" before. So maybe Teach is half-right.
(Anonymous) on February 21st, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Our motto at Flux is: Where Young Adult Is A Point Of View, Not A Reading Level.

Ne'er were truer words spoken.

--Brian
Dispatches
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Amen!