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23 June 2011


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*Yawn* This whole thing is getting kinda boring.


Well...the Slate article was annoying, but I do think Slate was bashing a slightly more specific genre than just "YA fiction" (which is like saying "adult fiction", for Chrissakes). Seems to me they were really bashing the quickfire, contrived supernatural YA series that seem to be everywhere these days. Still annoying, but hey.


This might get me in trouble, but I think they were poking fun at the genre and failed to realize that their community has no sense of humor. Oh, sure, in the privacy of our libraries we can make jokes about walking into Barnes and Noble and the only book we could find was Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, but that's insider stuff. On the outside, we are all YA SAVES! all the time. I think that's the biggest shame of the stupid Megan Fox Gurdon type article. We get a fortress mentality and see enemies everywhere. They were poking fun at each other. They were laughing about how crazy it is to churn out pulp for a YA audience. Big Deal.


The whole thing is annoying (and boring), on multiple levels. Well, I only see it as boring on one level, in that it's, you know, boring. How many times can our feathers get ruffled? Answer: Infinity, apparently. So, on the whole, I totally agree with the 'eh' you guys are feeling. And, hope, I feel your Big Deal.

The annoying, though... yeah. If they'd actually said: Wow. Writing for the literary fiction market is way different than writing for what basically amounts to a book packaging company (Magnolia League is on Hachette's Poppy imprint, but her description made it sound more like the Alloy methodology), then I don't think it would have come off as quite so obnoxious. Because, regardless of what they actually meant, what it sounded like they were saying was: Wow. Writing for the YA market (full stop, not a very specific part of the YA market) is way different than writing for the literary market (which is only found in Adult Land, full stop), and it's tough because of the pace, but super-awesome because it doesn't require much in the way crafting or revising but that's okay because the fans just don't care about stuff like that! So they came off as making the age-old assumption that all YA is the same, blah blah blah, and it's all crap and pap, and regardless of how many times it's said (maybe because of how many times it's said?) it raises ye olde hackles.

And (like you said, hope), to be fair, what they were getting at isn't entirely untrue (there are loads and loads of readers who bought the typo-riddled Hocking books and loved them, after all!), but a lot of the comments at the Slate article were coming from the readers who *do* care about writing and craft and words and story and character and so on. I know that my teenaged self wouldn't have wanted to have been told that I wasn't a thoughtful reader or that I didn't have discerning taste. And I know that my teenaged self was a grudge holder. (I know that because my adult self still holds teenaged grudges. Gosh. Speaking of being immature...)

tl;dr: They were totally picking on the stuff they were writing. Which, judging by the comments of their teen readers, didn't go over well.


Sure, the Alloy-style churn-it-out stuff they're writing is eminently mockable. Sparkly vampires are also eminently mockable. Stop the presses. What's irksome is that they're either disingenuously or cluelessly saying all YA is like the crap they're producing. It's sad that they're so defensive and self-loathing about what they do -- I'd say they should try to write some literary YA, but they're so dismissive of the genre AND its audience, that's like saying a Kardashian should try to write War and Peace. It's theoretically possible but wicked unlikely.

Also, not sure about the intelligence of mocking your reader in a public forum. Maybe they don't think teenagers read anything but dumb crap.

No point in getting worked up about it, though. Presumably they're working on a screenplay about an adorable couple who used to date and still have major sexual tension selling out by writing mockable poop for teens.


@marjorie: YES. And your screenplay suspicion? GENIUS.

Diana Peterfreund

In general, it's annoying to me when people don't respect the work they do or the customers they do it for, and that really goes for every kind of work there is -- I've been a waitress, I've worked in a factory, I've answered phones and made cold calls and other low wage-low experience type jobs out there. We've all taken jobs we thought were "beneath" us to pay the rent, and that's FINE, but respect that job and respect the customers, because when someone walks into a McDonalds and asks for fries, they don't really care that you're a classically trained French Chef who's slumming it, they want to order $1 worth of French fries in a paper cup and be out the door in 90 seconds. You don't have to lavish the attention on your McDonald's fries that you do on your truffle oiled pomme frites that no one is paying you for, but we also don't need to listen to you loudly complain, as you scoop pre-cut flash frozen fries out of the basket, that you aren't putting much effort into it.

The annoyance factor is upped to the nth degree when the work they do is a very difficult-to-get and highly desireable job (i.e., sitting around in your PJs and making up stuff for a living). You want to pay the rent by using your literary fiction training to churn out packaged YA series? Great. But don't denigrate it and don't denigrate the readers.

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