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What's hot & cooling off in fantasy these days?

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kehazen

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Not a certain creature, but urban fantasy with a steam punk twist seems to be on the rise.
#31 - January 21, 2009, 04:34 AM

Hey, Karen! I got your Gorgons and Chimeras and winged horse right here!!  :ha

My agent is just currently shopping my YA fantasy in which ancient Greek antagonisms spill into the life of four high school Newsies....

(I have to admit I wrote it just because I'm such a Pegasus-FREAK! Wings of poetry and all... See avatar.  :hiding)
#32 - January 21, 2009, 08:47 AM

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#33 - January 30, 2009, 01:53 PM
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Pretty ladies everywhere, I'm loving it. Anyway, I think zombies are definitely going to throw-down a duel with the vampires and werewolves of YA and don't take the fairies lightly either. They are here to charm and seduce the competition, as I am seeing most YA contain sexy fairies of allure.
#34 - February 01, 2009, 05:43 PM
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mswatkins

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Pretty ladies everywhere, I'm loving it. Anyway, I think zombies are definitely going to throw-down a duel with the vampires and werewolves of YA and don't take the fairies lightly either. They are here to charm and seduce the competition, as I am seeing most YA contain sexy fairies of allure.

Oh yeah.  I been diggin' on Tink for years.  She's a sassy little fairy.
#35 - February 02, 2009, 04:42 AM

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Okay, that was like so WEIRD!!! I wasn't referring to tink (you perv :dr) I was referring to a brilliant author on this site who has a book out/coming out that features a sexy fairy enchantress. But I guess tink is cute too, not that I was lookin'.  :hiding
#36 - February 02, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Browsing the YA shelves at my local B&N this morning, it looks like vampires and anything undead is in. (Which means that agents are already probably inundated.) Lots of macabre stuff. Death and violence mixed with impossibility and romance. I think it may be a spinoff of so much vampire attention--people trying to write something with that appeal, but in a new vein. So--lots of dark stuff.
#37 - February 03, 2009, 12:22 PM

*clears throat and inconspicuously indicates her avatar, which is one of her book covers*

Christine, you KNOW I love your cover!!!  :love
#38 - February 03, 2009, 01:05 PM

Yeah, I heard somewhere too that ghosts were going to be the "next big thing" now that vampires and zombies have peaked.  Guess I should have finished that YA ghost fantasy I set aside for my current WIP, a MG steampunk pirate fantasy ethnic adventure sci-fi novel (yeah, can you tell I'm still not sure what it is yet?).

It seems to me steampunk is picking up steam (pun totally intended), and I am just discovering this subgenre and I'd love to see more.  And I'm a total high fantasy fan, so I still hope to see more of that, too (though it probably won't happen).  I can't say there are certain creatures I'm interested in seeing more of, though.
#39 - February 03, 2009, 03:47 PM

Oh, and I guess I should add cyberpunk to that list of things I would like to see more of.  I think that kinda goes hand-in-hand with steampunk, though.
#40 - February 03, 2009, 03:57 PM

Gosh, I just started reading Garth Nix's Sabriel. How could I have missed it??!! Now that's some pretty neat fantansy. The world is fantantastically realized, right down to the rust stains on the filing cabinets....  Yummy!! I would certainly read and look for more of that.
 :library
#41 - February 04, 2009, 08:27 AM

Yeah I loved Nix's Sabriel series. Very clever concept. He also did the keys to the kingdom which is neat conceptually although I think it is one of those that blurs the lines of fantasy and sci fi. Magic and the space continuum. interesting stuff.
#42 - February 04, 2009, 08:55 AM
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m_williamholden

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I for one am tired of creatures that have been done over and over again.  That was one reason, with several others, I started writing my fantasy series.  I am so tired of over done creatures with over done stories.  I think that new creatures need to be developed and promoted in freshly told stories.  Let's start thinking outside the box!
#43 - July 31, 2009, 01:09 PM

JustinDono

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Been a while but I'll throw in my 2 bits.  
Vampires: done to death.  Not UNdeath, just regular death.  I passed by a YA section in a Borders the other day and just by glancing saw about 5 vampire SERIES.  No this did not include Twilight.  It's cool if you like them, but honestly, there's enough vamps out there.  Werewolves are getting there, but they're not as overdone as vamps YET.
Fairies: I think they're getting close.  Still plenty of room for a creative author with a new spin on them to make a killing.
Greek Myths and Legends: Also getting close to the "Thanks please, no more" threshold.  Everybody knows about Greek mythology, so it's easy fodder.  Doesn't mean it's bad at all, just very accessible.  
I'm trying to do something in the vein of American Gods, where all world mythologies are real and interact with each other.  A kitsune can [word censored] off a minotaur, a fairy might have met Gilgamesh back in the day, and Angels might run afoul of djinn.  I DO have vampires, but they're more like homeless, rabid meth addicts than the sparkly pretty-boy aristocratic things that have been beaten to death and beyond (and they aren't even a focus).
The only thing that I'd say shouldn't be done right now or that I'm entirely sick of being the main focus of stories is the vampires.  Just...pick something else already.
#44 - December 11, 2009, 01:33 PM
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 01:39 PM by JustinDono »

I'm thinking faeries have hit their peak in acquisitions, too, and I'd sure like to know what will excite editors next - I've had something different out there for a while but had no bites yet. It's a crazy market at the moment, but there are signs the industry is recovering a little. I'm not convinced that means editors are willing to take many risks on any MS that doesn't promise mega sales though.

Anyone been to any conferences lately and heard the latest editor wish-list?
#45 - December 14, 2009, 07:30 AM
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JustinDono

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I still think that horror is a void that needs to be properly filled in YA.
#46 - December 14, 2009, 02:38 PM

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Darren Shan is doing horror with his Demonata series.  He's up to book 9 in the series.  I work in a book store and teen boys are constantly buying his books.  He's the only one I'm aware of though.
#47 - December 14, 2009, 03:27 PM
DEFY THE DARK - HarperTeen June 2013
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I still think that horror is a void that needs to be properly filled in YA.

Do you think the whole demon thing is done? Zombies? It'd be cool to check out a new angle on http://terrifying!
#48 - December 15, 2009, 08:08 AM
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 08:16 AM by Pippa »
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Demon is such a broad category.  It's not like werewolves or vampires or zombies.  Demons can literally be anything.  They can be an invisible spectre (like in the film paranormal activity) they can be a physical embodiment of evil, an objects (like a house or a room), or even something vague like a bad feeling or a curse.  If you're just talking straight up, a specific sentient entity that eventually takes a form and gobbles souls, I'd say there's still room for that specific niche.  I'm also applying "demon" to anything non-human that isn't an already established monster and has supernatural origins.  So that leaves the door WIIIDE open.

Zombies is overdone.  Besides, they've gotten to the point where they're either used for laughs or a cool factor.  Even new twists on old zombie ideas like the dreaded "fast zombie" are overdone now.  

The generic slasher has been murdered by years of awful cinema.  The most cliche horror flicks around are nothing but teens and strangers with sharp objects.  I'm not even going near that mess.  

Things that I think would be good to hit on and appropriate for teens would be something like body horror.  With the onset of hormones and the joys they bring, boddy horror is a particularly apt sub-genre.  It basically involves one's own body as the enemy, witnessing the awful, disgusting things it's capable of, the pain it can feel, or watching it change into something else entirely in a slow, agonizing process (which typically coincides with a mutation of the mind as well).

Things involving loneliness, ostracization, being seen as the "other," all could work well too.  

Plus, I recall from my teen days the sort of dull fear that would come thinking about some of the choices I was making then lasting forever (like, my grades affecting my college, affecting my job, my income, my family, etc.), so maybe something to do with having to make a difficult, permanent choice, or a choice that ends very badly.

The problem I see with most horror (YA or otherwise) is that it goes for two things: gore and shock.  It may create a solid "BOO" type of moment or ellicit an "oh my god" from the reader, and perhaps a few "Eeews" but there is typically never any lasting fear.  Nothing that stays with you and lurks in the back of your head and troubles your sleep.  Movies are the same.  

I remember one of the scarier short horror stories I read as a kid had to do with a kid and his parents flying over the Sahara desert.  The parents were both pilots and had their own little cessna or something.  They were dragging the kid, their son, along and he was being a brat.  Dad asks son to check the fuel cap before take off, kid ignores him and just says it's fine.  Over the desert, the plane loses its fuel due to the cap not being shut properly or something, it crashes.  dad dies instantly.  Mom is in a coma with several broken bones.  Kid is fine.  He wanders the desert looking for help for days, using up what remains of his water, and then comes back to the plane wreck.  He'd gone in a huge circle, and now finds his mother dead.  So he's doomed to die slowly, trapped in a loop where he is always confronted with the deaths of his parents being entirely his fault.

That story (which I read in 5th grade) messed me up for a while.  Stuff like that is hard to find.    

Also, I don't know if I'd classify Shan's Demonata series as horror per se.  I haven't read them all, but it seems like the scope of the mai ngoal is very grand, almost heroic.  You don't have heroes in horror.  You have ordinary people that only want to survive.  They're not saving the universe, they just don't want to die.  I mean, yes it has demons, but that isn't an auto-ticket to horror country.  I'll have to dig further into the series though.
#49 - December 15, 2009, 01:46 PM
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 01:54 PM by JustinDono »

An awesome reply, JustinDono - you totally wow'd me with your knowledge of the topic. I wish I could offer similiar, or even an intelligent, discussion but I'm a novice at YA fantasy. I aim to please the MG market. The challenge before me is to create an unforgetable story for future grade 5 kids that refuse to check the darn fuel cap - or might otherwise be the death of their parents.

"The Lottery" was a story that had a profound effect on me, though I don't remember how old I was when I read it. I absolutely devoured Daphne du'Maurier's horror stories:  Don't Look Now, The Blue Lenses, The Birds - which Alfred Hitchcock mutilated - and some even spookier stuff in a collection called, "ECHOES FROM THE MACABRE". Chilling stuff. Daphne was one spooky old lady.

 
#50 - December 16, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Browsing the YA shelves today, I'd think scary-closeups-of-girls-faces are "in" (as well as purple/black/gray/white covers)! Just kidding!

I heard from an industry insider that steampunk is "not preforming as well as expected" which is a bummer as I love it and am trying one on myself. Fallen angels/saved demons seem to be on the rise as zombies fade; despite everyone shouting "No More Vampires!" or "No More Faeries!" these still seem to be all the rage. The swing into horror -- the ghosts, demons, spirits, etc. is definitely still strong in the UF category as well as the romance angle (RUF?) & "slayers" of same.

Me, I'm hoping this will spill over onto skeletons. Derek Landy and I need a boost!  ;-)
#51 - December 18, 2009, 08:47 AM

quester

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What is out there in YA/MG steampunk besides LEVIATHAN?

Theodore
#52 - December 18, 2009, 09:16 AM

Cassie Clare's stuff is in the works as well as predecessor, Cherie Priest. However, the fact that we HAVEN'T seen these things yet this side of the cash register makes me nervous.

Of course, I, myself, will still be buying as a rabid steampunk fan.
#53 - December 18, 2009, 12:29 PM

I have the multiverse going full steam in my Goblin Wars series out next fall -- any creature from mythology can show up, the sidhe being a chimera of dark creatures from many worlds cobbled together by one bad dude's will.  I have an angel who is a freegan and old car buff, but not a love interest.

I think anything goes if you pay attention to story and character.  :yup

eab
#54 - December 18, 2009, 02:27 PM

JustinDono

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What is out there in YA/MG steampunk besides LEVIATHAN?

Theodore

Okay, it isn't YA, but China Mieville writes THE BEST STEAMPUNK you will ever read.  Man is a wondrous talent.  Read Perdido Street Station first.  Unless you are squeamish.
I'm sad to hear steampunk isn't doing so hot in YA though.  Steampunk can be really awesome. 
Also, I read the whole of first Demonata book, "Lord Loss."  Ugh.  Just ugh.  Blech.  I cleansed the book with bleach and poured hot wax over my hands after touching the pages. (not really but GEEZ).  Not only was it absolutely dreadful, it totally was NOT horror.  It was at best, a prolonged gross out.  At worst, it was a rambling, shuffling mess of a story that would sometimes it was supposed to do something "scary" and decide the best way to do that would be to show you some blood or something.
I can totally see why teenage boys would like this.  "Blood and guts! Cool!  Hey, the first title is called 'Rat Guts!'  The bad guy bleeds a lot!"
But again, gore is not hard.  Grossing somebody out is not difficult.  If I want to make somebody lose their lunch, I read them the details of a science article that dealt with a 67 year old woman giving birth.  If I want to scare somebody, I'll go for something more subtle.
I guess that if guys like Stephen King, Clive Barker, and others of their ilk have access to a huge array of tools, ranging from a simple torque wrench to a massive gas driven chainsaw, then Darren Shann just has a ball peen hammer and he figures every literary problem is a nail.
Also, dude named an entire saga after himself.  What the hell.
#55 - December 18, 2009, 08:58 PM

redheadedali

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Count me in on the "Where is all this steampunk that is performing poorly?" line of thought. I loved Leviathan and am very much looking forward to The Clockwork Angel, but aside from Philip Reeve, I'm having a hard time thinking of much other YA steampunk.

If you're looking for some fun adult steampunk (in a much lighter vein than China Mieville :) ), I really enjoyed Soulless by Gail Carriger.
#56 - December 18, 2009, 09:52 PM

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What is out there in YA/MG steampunk besides LEVIATHAN?

Theodore

The Hunchback Assignments by Authur Slade (HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ONE!!!)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes
The Monster Blood Tattoo Series by DM Cornish
The Hungry City Chronicles & The Mortal Engines Series by Philip Reeves
#57 - December 19, 2009, 06:52 AM

quester

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Yeah, I really liked Boneshaker. (And what a cover). Although it's not officially classified YA. (Can't really when the mother is one of the main protagonists, I guess.)

I thought Leviathan was doing pretty well, but maybe not as well as expected? I actually caught one of my male HS students reading it, which is a good sign.

Theodore

Cassie Clare's stuff is in the works as well as predecessor, Cherie Priest. However, the fact that we HAVEN'T seen these things yet this side of the cash register makes me nervous.

Of course, I, myself, will still be buying as a rabid steampunk fan.
#58 - December 19, 2009, 09:31 AM

quester

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Sorry, I have tried Mieville several times, and find him to be poorly (over)written, pretentious and a rehash of Neil Gaiman (who is a freaking genius.)

I know some people really like his work, but not for me. (And I love Westerfield, Barker, King, Gaiman, lots of people...)

And I couldn't get through more than a page of Darren Shan.

Theodore

Okay, it isn't YA, but China Mieville writes THE BEST STEAMPUNK you will ever read.  Man is a wondrous talent.  Read Perdido Street Station first.  Unless you are squeamish.
I'm sad to hear steampunk isn't doing so hot in YA though.  Steampunk can be really awesome. 
Also, I read the whole of first Demonata book, "Lord Loss."  Ugh.  Just ugh.  Blech.  I cleansed the book with bleach and poured hot wax over my hands after touching the pages. (not really but GEEZ).  Not only was it absolutely dreadful, it totally was NOT horror.  It was at best, a prolonged gross out.  At worst, it was a rambling, shuffling mess of a story that would sometimes it was supposed to do something "scary" and decide the best way to do that would be to show you some blood or something.
I can totally see why teenage boys would like this.  "Blood and guts! Cool!  Hey, the first title is called 'Rat Guts!'  The bad guy bleeds a lot!"
But again, gore is not hard.  Grossing somebody out is not difficult.  If I want to make somebody lose their lunch, I read them the details of a science article that dealt with a 67 year old woman giving birth.  If I want to scare somebody, I'll go for something more subtle.
I guess that if guys like Stephen King, Clive Barker, and others of their ilk have access to a huge array of tools, ranging from a simple torque wrench to a massive gas driven chainsaw, then Darren Shann just has a ball peen hammer and he figures every literary problem is a nail.
Also, dude named an entire saga after himself.  What the (word censored).

#59 - December 19, 2009, 09:42 AM

JustinDono

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I can absolutely see how Mieville could be overdone.  I would have to put him aside from time to time, but ultimately his imagination kept pulling me back in. 
#60 - December 19, 2009, 09:56 AM

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