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Archive for February, 2011

Before you can submit a query letter to an agent, you need to know what kind of fantasy you’ve written. Most literary agents are very specific with what they will consider and go as far as to break them down into subgenres. To make this process less confusing, I’ve broken down most of them so that you can save yourself from a hundred or so unnecessary, gut-retching rejection letters.

High Fantasy:

If your novel takes place on any other planet other than Earth then it is ALWAYS high fantasy. There is no wiggle room here. You could have elements of other subgenres, but the location of the novel always overrules everything else. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is a great example because most of the story takes place in a different or parallel world.

Epic Fantasy:

Typically a series of books that revolve around a quest. Think sword fights, medieval weapons, and damsels in distress. Some people have coined Epic fantasy as Sword and Sorcery. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is a very well known epic fantasy series.  

Dark Fantasy:

This is usually when monstrous creatures play the heroes and the romantic element is small. Think vampires, werewolves, dragons, etc. Tithe by Holly Black is considered a dark fantasy because her faeries play good and evil roles.

Urban Fantasy:

The setting is an urban city and the story is taking place right now. The city is usually well known like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, etc. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is considered an urban fantasy because it takes place in New York.

Dystopian:

The story takes place in the future and the society is usually controlled and/or repressed in some way. Great examples of this subgenre include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

Steampunk:

A popular setting for this subgenre has been Victorian London in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. The technology is steam or spring powered and made mostly of brass and copper. Think science and futuristic inventions. A great example for this subgenre is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Paranormal Romance:

This is simply a romance with fantasy elements. They mostly take place in our modern day world and usually involve humans encountering other fantasy species. Think romance with vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, etc. They also tend to feature human characters with some sort of psychic special ability. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White and the Immortal series by Alyson Noel are two great examples of this subgenre.

I hope this list has helped. Happy Writing.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can read her advice for aspiring writers on her blog The YA Fantasy Freak or you can follow her on Twitter.

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Dealing with Personal Loss

I came to the realization today that I no longer have a best friend. I suppose I should’ve seen it coming. She moved out of state about seven years ago with her family. She was bound to build a life for herself and make new friends. I guess I should be happy for her that she didn’t dwell on the past as I clearly have. Isn’t that what we do? Life changes and we’re supposed change with it? That would be the logical answer. Yet, as stupid as this probably sounds, I never thought we’d lose touch.  

We’d spent the better of twenty years at each other’s side. Even if we took time away, we could always come back and start right where we left off. We had a relationship of complete truth. Nothing was ever politically correct about our friendship which is how I think it should be. She always had a knack for seeing right through my bullshit and was one of the only people I know not afraid to set me straight. On the other side of that, she knew when I was hurting and what I needed. It amazes me to think of what we’ve been through together. The awkward years of childhood, the drama that goes along with being a teenager, even all the way to marriage and children. I have so few memories that don’t involve her in some way. It’s hard to imagine your life wrapped so closely around one single non-family person.  

Now I’m at a very unfamiliar place. Where do you go once your friend has moved on? They don’t exactly have a friendship service like they do online dating. Are you supposed to put yourself out there and stay open for new friendships? I really don’t understand how you trust a new person. How much do you give away and what are the new rules with this new person? It all feels overwhelming at the moment because I’m pretty much in the dumps. Thanks for listening to me vent. Writing is really the only way I purge this stuff out.

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Thank you to everyone who helped me put this project together. It’s been a labor of love. It’s amazing what you can get done with a very small budget. This probably won’t be the trailer that I release with the book, but it’s a peek into the story. I would love to hear your opinions on the trailer. You can watch it here and there’s also a place for you to comment. If you like the trailer, I encourage you to tweet something to Megan. She’s growing her book trailer and editing business and this was one of the first trailers she produced. Her links are under the trailer.

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There seems to be no shortage of complaints about the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. She’s not the greatest writer, she contradicts everything we know of vampire lore, her books send out a bad message to young girls about marriage and children, and that’s only naming a few. I suppose with success like hers you’d expect her critics to be harsh, but let’s look beyond the book and really explore the Meyer effect.

Fact #1: Meyer brought teenagers back to the bookstore! It’s an amazing accomplishment considering that book competitors are iPods, text messages, Facebook and Twitter. She brought them in by the droves and now they’re not just reading Twilight books! I talk to readers all the time that say they started off reading Twilight and then moved onto other young adult fantasy authors. Meyer, in many ways, has been the gateway drug that led teenagers to other amazing writers like Cassandra Clare, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, and Scott Westerfeld. 

Fact #2: Meyer gave us a new version of tired theme. You may not like her vampires, but you have to admit that they’re original. Vampires in high school that don’t drink blood, sparkle in the sunlight, and want to be human. This goes against everything ever written by Bram Stoker and Anne Rice. Not to mention that none of those books ever appealed to teenagers. You’ve got to give this girl props for giving us a new perspective on both vampires and werewolves.

Fact #3: Teenagers are writing because of Twilight. I know of many readers that got the writing bug after reading the series. They’re tons of websites dedicated to Twilight fan fiction. Young readers writing their own versions of the popular series. Of all the things my daughter could be into, I’d much prefer her interested in creative writing. I couldn’t care less what the subject is, just the fact that she’s writing and using her imagination is enough for me.  

I hope you take these facts into consideration before you jump on the hater bandwagon. I’m not a Twihard, but I do consider myself a fan of the series. Do I think she’s the best fantasy writer out there, hmmm no. Do I think that her books could change the world and bring about world peace, emphatically no. But, in my opinion, she does deserve a high five and a little slack from the critics.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can read her advice for aspiring writers on her blog The YA Fantasy Freak or you can follow her on Twitter.

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I have a fun little project I’m working on so I thought I’d throw it out there and get some opinions. I had someone offer to put a book trailer together for me. For those who don’t know, a book trailer is like a movie trailer, except it’s for books. The purpose is to get you excited without revealing too much about the book. Anyway, I’m pretty hands on so I’m trying to help with the wording of the trailer. The idea is that the trailer will have what you see below, plus music and images. Here’s what I have so far. 

 The trailer will start with a voiceover. This will be in the voice of a teenage girl who represents my main character. Music and images will also be in the background. This is what she will say:

When I was a kid, faeries would come and visit me at night. They used to say they were there to protect me until one day they stopped coming.

Over the next ten years, I’d convinced myself that I’d imagined the whole thing.

That is, until the day they showed up again, and tried to kill me.

Afterwards, these words will appear on the screen. Each line on a separate slide with images in the background that correspond with the words.

Kalin Fay’s mother has disappeared…

To find her, she’ll have to let go of everything she’s ever believed.

And enter into a world of magick.

A society that abides by ancient rules, where nothing and no one is as they seem.

Some will try to help her…

A few will try to destroy her…

One will sacrifice everything to love her…

And one will betray her…

The question is…do you believe in faerytales?

Whatcha think? Did it get you excited? Do you want to read my book? Is it totally cheesy and you think I’m a complete dork? What’s your opinion? I want to hear it, good or bad.

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This Contest is Closed! The winner is Kristi Stern

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

To enter, simply subscribe to my blog on the right side near the top and comment on one of my posts. This contest will run from Tuesday, February 8th to Sunday, February 13th. I will pick the winner on February 14th.

Get two additional entries by following me on Twitter and Tweeting links to my contest!

Follow this link to find the rest of the participating blogs: Follower Love Giveaway Hop

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