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Querying high fantasy


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#1 wordgirl

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 01:06 PM

Ms. Kole,

I have noticed that there aren’t very many YA agents who want “high fantasy”. How would you define high fantasy? Why do you think it has become unpopular? Can you recommend any YA agents that will accept queries for YA high fantasy? Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,
Wordgirl

#2 Mary Kole

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:44 AM

It's true. "High fantasy" has fallen out of favor for most YA (heavy genre of any kind is perceived as less mainstream and a harder sell for the YA market, which doesn't have the strong genre groups of adult fiction). I would define high fantasy as focused more on the world-building than on character development. Traditional high fantasy is all about the world, the language, the political landscape, the intricacies, and less about a character's inner life. Books like GRACELING, though, manage to have great world-building and still be character-centric, and it obviously worked very well for the market. My advice is to always focus on character and story and not to make the writing and world-building too dense (the common fault of most high fantasy and hard sci-fi). As for agent recommendations, I do know that on the ABLA staff, Kelly Sonnack is probably our biggest fantasy fan, though I would never turn down a chance to look at the next GRACELING or HUNGER GAMES!

#3 Kmarshall

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 05:13 PM

Hello Ms. Kole. Thank you for doing this! My fantasy is slightly different and hard to pin down. I suppose contemporary fantasy is the best way to describe it. Imagine Percy Jackson told as an anime with Japanese myth as the basis instead of Greek. Not sure if it fits into your list, though. The protagonist is 28. Still, the story is clean, free of profanity and/or sexual situations.

#4 Mary Kole

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 02:31 PM

Kmarshall -- As you can see elsewhere in these threads, character age really does matter, and I only represent YA, which has characters 18 and under. That's a firm guideline. Best of luck, though!




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