SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Fractured Fairy Story

Discussion started on

Hi there

I write comedy chapter books featuring bumbling superheroes and nose-picking spies. My audience is both boys and girls. My latest book is a tale about mischief making boy fairies. (A fractured fairy story.)

Am I going to hit trouble with a book featuring misbehaving fairies being read by boys? Or are boys more open minded than we realize about the comedy topics they choose to read? 

(And are publishers more open minded than we realize about publishing material like this?)

I'd be very interested in people's opinions.

Thanks

Pete
#1 - September 21, 2013, 01:07 PM
Twitter  @petermillett

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region westcentny
That is a great question! And I don't have the answer!
But now that I'm thinking about it, in the 6 years I've worked as the librarian in the Children's Center, I have only 1 time had a boy ask for fairy books, and the other 999 times its been girls. I bet some of these girls would  be OK with a boy fairy main character, but I got the feeling about 900 of them wanted pink sparkly dresses and wings.
Very interesting!
#2 - September 21, 2013, 03:30 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
www.deenalipomi.com

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I've test read the story to children and both the boys and girls are fine with it. Comedy I think, makes it gender friendly.

Interestingly, fairies used to be male until Victorian times.

Pete
#3 - September 21, 2013, 04:18 PM
Twitter  @petermillett

There is just no way to tell without reading your story--Terry Prachet's Wee Free Men has pixies....er....Pictsies that are brilliant. ;) That said do not mention that the kids loved it when you read it aloud in your cover letter. Just let the editor decide.

:). And welcome to the boards!

Eab
#4 - September 21, 2013, 05:23 PM

Thanks for that. I have an editor in the UK who published my last comedy series and she was shocked by the concept. She said no British boy would ever touch a book with fairies in it. I guess rules are meant to be broken. What is American culture like on this issue? (I am a Kiwi.) I would imagine that US readers would judge material on content, rather than following acceptable societal rules or protocols?
#5 - September 22, 2013, 01:30 AM
Twitter  @petermillett

Wait... Isn't Artemis Fowl all fairies?
#6 - September 22, 2013, 06:39 AM
critically-yours.blogspot.com

Champagne Supernova
Member.
Poster Plus
I think the problem is that, ever since Tinkerbell and others, fairies have been seen as overwhelmingly female and sparkly, especially for the chapter book age group. On the one hand I love subversions, and it's often the brave and different books that change the status quo, but otoh it would be a shame for a fun book not to reach the market you want simply because of the word 'fairy'. I might be tempted to call them pixies or something, especially if your editor is dead set against the idea, but obviously that's for you to decide. Also, I think you'll find the US market less forgiving of anomalies than the UK one, not more, but I could be wrong.

PS Anne - Artemis Fowl *is* fairies, though the main fairy character is female (if tough as old boots) and the main character or the book is obviously a human boy. It's also aimed at older children, whether that makes a difference am not sure. Kiersten White's books also feature male fairies, but of course they're YA and aimed at girls anyway.

Anyway interesting discussion!
#7 - September 22, 2013, 06:49 AM
THE D'EVIL D1ARIES April 2015
HELL'S BELLES Oct 2015
Twitter: @Tatum_Flynn
Website: http://www.tatumflynn.net/

Thank you again. This is extremely helpful feedback. I am a mid-career writer trying to be a little subversive for the first time. I also think that we as a society can handle a pair of wings on the back of a small person (regardless of gender). After all, wasn't Peter Pan the world's first ever superhero? Is it a bird, is it a plane... no it's a Pan!
#8 - September 22, 2013, 12:26 PM
Twitter  @petermillett

dragon64

Guest
I'm curious--is "fairy" used as a sexual derogatory name in Australia/the UK? Because sometimes it is here in the US, and so that would most definitely affect the market. Changing his magical race to some other form, like pixies, would solve that problem. Of course, it raises a whole other topic of conversation. If you could get a publisher courageous enough to take on a series about a boy fairy, it could become a great opener for a lot of discussions about the word and what it means.
#9 - January 03, 2014, 07:48 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region australiaeastnz
I think both boys and girls love it when stereotypes and their own expectations are subverted. Lots of scope for humour and silly situations. I say go for it!
#10 - January 05, 2014, 05:40 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
I've received positive comments on first pages for having a male tooth fairy. As Fred says, "What do you think? We're all girls. Ridiculous."

Really now, did you ever notice that some of them have fathers but there are no boy fairies. I guess some change gender as they grow up. Not unheard of.

Okay, so my story is a chapter book adventure and has yet to sell. Still, positive comments on that fact have been heard.
#11 - January 06, 2014, 09:07 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Champagne Supernova
Member.
Poster Plus
Dragon - yes, fairy is a gay slur here in the UK, so that also doesn't help :(
#12 - January 06, 2014, 09:04 PM
THE D'EVIL D1ARIES April 2015
HELL'S BELLES Oct 2015
Twitter: @Tatum_Flynn
Website: http://www.tatumflynn.net/

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region epa
Peter, many fractured fairy tales have won Caldecotts, so go for it.

Here is an excellent list that will set many of your gitters to rest   :girl

http://library.loganutah.org/books/children/FracturedTales.cfm

Good luck!
#13 - January 06, 2014, 10:00 PM

Thanks!
#14 - January 13, 2014, 08:33 PM
Twitter  @petermillett

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.