Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo

YA and the "John Green Effect"


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 JacobH44

JacobH44

    Dazed & Confused

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS South

Posted 06 April 2014 - 01:24 AM

Stumbled upon this pretty interesting article about how the women of YA are constantly being overshadowed by their male counterparts such as newcomer John Green. Growing up on powerful and wildly important books such as "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson, I can definitely see how this is true. Green is seen as a "YA savior" of some sort - basically being shown as having built up and shaped the entire YA world, while women such as Anderson and the pioneer S.E. Hinton are overlooked. Take from it what you will, but I think it shows how this sad inequality stretches even into the writing world.

 

Here's the article:

 

http://www.dailydot....omen-criticism/

 


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Hemingway


#2 CS_W

CS_W

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:"Sword Witch" on Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Googleplay
    "A Courtroom of Ashes" on Amazon
    "From the Stars" To be released.

Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:47 AM

Hm, I couldn't disagree more.

 

First, because YA has been a field INFESTED by female writers. I think John Green is actually a breath of fresh air.

 

Second, believing his books are damaging other authors is just sad. I loathe this kind of thinking. That's the same insane logic that an author used in the Huffpost for an article where she stated, and I quote "JK Rowling should stop writing". Sure, her release date was on the same day Rowling came out as Robert whatever, and both books were mystery thrillers. So yeah, her sales took a hit, but that's just tough luck. It's not a reason to tell another writer to stop doing what he/she loves or does best.  



#3 Click

Click

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 107 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationAfrica
  • Publishing Experience:My poems are scattered across the web and hard to find, which is why I call them fairy dust ;) My Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Promentory

Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:01 AM

I think John Green is a terrific writer. His novels have breathed fresh air into the vampire/werewolf/fantasy infested YA genre, regardless of his gender.
A young girl battles with her conscience
as she attempts to escape her
kidnapper's grasp, once and for all. - My new, free short story, Hush https://www.smashwor...oks/view/534254

#4 Tanya_Writes_YA

Tanya_Writes_YA

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, agented
  • LocationAsia
  • Publishing Experience:My novel BONES OF GOLD (hopefully) be published soon! Represented by the Wendy Schmalz Agency.

Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:41 AM

I love John Green, but as someone who has recently queried, I am getting a lot of responses from agents who are no longer interested in YA Fantasy and instead looking for the next John Green. Seems like John Green has increased the demand for YA Contemporary. In lieu of this, I already have a YA Contemporary planned out when I'm done with my YA Fantasy series.



#5 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 03 May 2014 - 01:54 PM

If you actually look at the statistics, male YA writers (actually, all male writers, this is not just a YA thing. It's just that the YA community has done a lot of research into this) get a lot more press attention, review space, different covers than women authors that appeal to a crossover audience, and are on the NYT bestseller list and get more consideration for serious awards. This is because we're trained to believe that male voices are more important then female.

 

John Green is great. Love his books and am so happy for his success because I hear from everyone who knows him that he is such a sweet person. But the importance that our society puts on male authors voices above female authors is not great (nor is the importance we put on white, able-bodied, cisgendered, straight voices, we need a lot more diversity) Especially when YA as a category and as a booming marketplace was built up by WOMEN, which is often ignored. Women who a lot of people poo-poo because they just happen to write about vampires/werewolves/witches/etc. Women who mainstream news articles about John Green like to put down in order to raise him up (once again, not John Green's fault. He is a very nice guy who wrote a book that took off and I can't even imagine what it's doing to his anxiety. The dude cannot control what's being written about him and he refuses to be on panels unless there are women paneling with him, which is cool of him and speaks to the fact that he knows his privilege).

 

Contemporary YA has been around forever. It is the foundation of Young Adult lit, starting with the category's creation with SE Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS in the late 60's. Whenever we're inbetween trends, we fall back to contemporary YA, aka real life, because it's always been a steady seller. If you want to write Contemporary YA, yes, please do! But don't do it to chase trends. By the time you're done with it, it's likely that a new trend will have popped up, and contemporary will be put on the backburner, where it'll burn steadily, but kind of quietly, like it always has.

 

Some of those stats: http://www.stackedbo...k-times-ya.html

http://www.stackedbo...times-ya_5.html

http://velociriot.or...es-bestsellers/



#6 CS_W

CS_W

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:"Sword Witch" on Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Googleplay
    "A Courtroom of Ashes" on Amazon
    "From the Stars" To be released.

Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:09 AM

I kind of agree, Sharpe. Male writers receive more press attention in almost every genre.

I have quite a few friends who write mysteries and thrillers and their pen names are something like "J.T. Brooks" or "M.L. Brown", because those are genderless names, and still, the majority of readers assume they are male. Not only that, but one of them got a substantial increase in sales after she changed her pen name from, let's say, Sabrina Townley, to S. L. Townley.

 

Having said that, there is no denying that YA is a genre dominated by female voices. Like you said, it was built by women, and that's a great thing. But I don't think it's right to go after Green just because his books are a success and he's a guy. It's the same kind of persecution we're trying to fight when it comes to women writing in male dominated genres.

Green is not hurting anyone, and the article makes it seem like he is. In all honesty, I don't think I've ever read an YA writen by a man, with the exception of "Paper Towns" and "13 Reasons Why" (that's on me though, I'm sure there are plenty out there.)

 

And Hazel, agents may say they want the next John Green, but they always say that whenever someone makes it big like J.K. Rowling or E.L James. Trends always pass. Keep being true to yourself and the stories you feel are worth writing ; )  



#7 Tanya_Writes_YA

Tanya_Writes_YA

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, agented
  • LocationAsia
  • Publishing Experience:My novel BONES OF GOLD (hopefully) be published soon! Represented by the Wendy Schmalz Agency.

Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:00 AM

Thanks guys! Yes, I agree. I actually had two ideas to work on when I finish my series. One YA Paranormal and another YA Contemporary. The series I am working on is YA Fantasy, so to take a break, I decided to do the YA Contemporary first :) But yes, some of the articles and responses I have gotten also swayed my choice a bit. As writers, I think we also have to research trends, as that is the "business" end of it, that most of us abhor. Ha ha ha. I think a lot of us will agree that writing the book is easier than what comes after! Good luck to all of us.



#8 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 04 May 2014 - 01:20 PM

Except Clara, if you look at the links I provided, women DON'T dominate YA in terms of visibility, in terms of bestseller lists, in terms of awards, in terms of the stuff that puts them in the public's (outside of the book world's) mind. So I'm not sure how they're dominating except for that you aren't reading widely enough in YA, because there are a TON of male authors out there and they get a ton of attention. I paneled with two incredibly lovely ones, Matt de La Pena and Marcus Sedgewick (who just very deservedly won the Printz) just last week and I HIGHLY recommend both their books. And I have had friends who have to "genderwash" their names in YA, because they just happen to be writing about boys. 

 

First of all, this isn't persecution at all. No one is saying John doesn't deserve his success (he does), or that he should give it up or calling to not buy his books (on the contrary, I think everyone should read my favorite of his, LOOKING FOR ALASKA). The articles about how John is treated by society/the press is a critique on our society and how the press prefers to build up white males over all else and the disturbing trend of painting Green as a prophet or a savior when if a woman had written THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, it would have been dismissed as yet another romance written by a woman. This is a very disturbing, very prevalent trend. And because we write for teenagers and because John has so many female teenaged fans, it's important to make them aware of the faults of society and the press. If young women only see men writing "serious life changing fiction" and only male writers held up as "saviors" then they're going to think women have to only write "fluffy" fiction that gets no respect and that women can't be saviors. And that may rob us of some REALLY important voices in the future. 

 

Men have something called "male privilege" that women do not. This is not John's fault, of course. He's a man, he can't change that. But he's obviously aware of his privilege, because he insists women be on any panel that he's on (which again, I think is super cool of him). This is society's fault and how we see men and women (not just writers!). This is why women are still trying to fight for equal pay. Why male politicians get away with comparing us to things like farm animals and try to take our rights away. 

 

John is not hurting anyone. But the way the media portrays him as a white male savior to a category that does NOT need to be saved IS hurtful and disrespectful to the people who helped build up the category and the women who struggle to make a living off their books every day. That's where everyone who is talking about this is coming from. We have a huge diversity problem in children's fiction. To have so many people focus on a white man  (who writes pretty exclusively about straight white privileged children--WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON being the exception here, though I think David Leviathan wrote the LGBT character's POV in that) saving us is very disturbing when we need so much more diversity. And when we don't need saving. Stephenie Meyer is not holding us hostage. Neither is Susanne Collins or Meg Cabot or JK Rowling. All women who were blockbusters and power-sellers before John Green's success. Yet there aren't articles about them saving YA even though they've given us more books, film franchises and global popularity. Instead, they are continually put down in articles about him in order to separate him from the "silly" YA because he writes "serious" YA. The Hollywood Reporter just put down none other than the goddess JUDY BLUME in order to build Green up, implying that he had passed her, success-wise, because he'd gotten a movie made, conveniently forgetting that a) Judy's written a hell of a lot more books in a broader range of age categories than Green and has lasted DECADES and DECADES and b) she wouldn't SELL her books to hollywood. TIGER EYES, which was released a few years ago, was directed by her son I believe, which is the only reason it got made. 



#9 Tanya_Writes_YA

Tanya_Writes_YA

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, agented
  • LocationAsia
  • Publishing Experience:My novel BONES OF GOLD (hopefully) be published soon! Represented by the Wendy Schmalz Agency.

Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:27 PM

I totally agree sharpgirl!



#10 CS_W

CS_W

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:"Sword Witch" on Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Googleplay
    "A Courtroom of Ashes" on Amazon
    "From the Stars" To be released.

Posted 05 May 2014 - 05:05 AM

Hey Sharpe,

 

I agree that the media is totally doing it wrong, but I'm not in favor of attacking John in the process, just like you said. ; )



#11 SC_Author

SC_Author

    Veteran Hufflepuff Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,087 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Some poetry

Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:30 PM

I'm in awe at what everyone is saying. It's so freaking scary to me, especially that one line you said, sharpe:  "if a woman had written THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, it would have been dismissed as yet another romance written by a woman" because it's so freaking true. I literally had one of those moments where it just snaps in your head, all into place, and it's so dang scary.

 

I don't know what heck we can do to change this. So many studies have shown that, for example, when a person is given a false set of information and then the person believes that information, even when that person is told straight-up that the information is false, the person still believes in the lies at least partially.

 

There's got to be more we can do than just throwing out facts. I think we need to find the next big woman writer and promote her.


SC_Author on Twitter

and SCWrite.blogspot.com for my blog :)

I am blogging about all things writing and JK Rowling. I also divulge secrets about the craft.

Because writers are insane. Being a writer is misery. And, as we all know, misery loves company :)




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users