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YA or A Fantasy?

Fiction Fantasy New Adult Young Adult

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#1 9emilylime9


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Posted 27 February 2018 - 02:53 PM

I've been starting to query some agents with my manuscript and have been billing is as YA Fantasy, but I'm not actually sure if that's the right age demographic. I've been going off of the ages of the characters, but even there it's a little fuzzy.


A little about the story:

There are two main POV characters: David, who is 17 and Ajax, who is 20. Their stories take place 1,000 years apart from each other and each have their own separate plot.


David's story is almost a thriller in structure. He stumbles onto a private conversation between a powerful lord and the High Priest and is caught. In an attempt to avoid getting killed by the lord, he tries to find out more about what he overheard and why it was worth killing over. There are dark themes of murder and abuse of power, but David as a character is fairly naive.


Ajax's story is more of a traditional adventure fantasy. He is the son of a powerful lord who gets rescued by the assassin sent to kill him, an 18-year-old girl named Rosie. They start off on the run from Rosie's boss, who has been trying to take over the world, but end up trying to fight against him. There are, again, dark themes of murder and abuse of power, as well as Rosie's account of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that her boss used on both her and others. If it's YA, it is definitely on the upper-est-end of it.


In the end, the stories and the way that they interconnect are about the importance of history, and all the ways that the past (even the very distant past) affects the present in ways we could never fully realize. After reading some of the other posts on this forum, I think that that would lean it more towards Adult, since it's not as much about the characters growing into their own or developing relationships with each other. But I've also been told that the beginning reads more YA.


Lastly, the book is 117,000 words, which would be a comfortable length for an Adult Fantasy but be about 27,000 words too long for YA. Hence another part of the dilemma, because if it's YA, I need to really cut it down.


Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

#2 TeaTime


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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:04 PM

I am certainly no expert on the topic, but if your story's word count & themes don't really fit YA, then I would just go with Adult Fantasy.


Since there are no coming of age or social/problem novel stuff in it, it sounds like your characters are just young adults. Young adults will probably identify with them because of their age, but not necessarily with anything further that an older adult wouldn't also identify with.


Good luck pinning it down   :smile:

Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You



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Posted 01 March 2018 - 01:23 AM

Here's a couple things to consider when categorizing (not an expert, just a lover of YA ;)


1. Age of main characters (I'd agree with the YA categorization here)

2. Major topics/ themes + Character outlook- YA doesn't necessarily have to be "bright and sunny" in fact it often deals with dark issues, but an overarching theme is "most" YA is a sense of possibility/ silver lining/ ray of hope/etc whatever you want to call it, you have the feeling that it's not hopeless/ the world doesn't just suck because the characters have the ability to make things better- they don't always achieve this, but it's not out of the question

3. Sex, Physicality, and Abuse- typically in YA the actual acts of sex/ sexual abuse/ physical abuse/etc are hinted at but not described in detail. Most YA characters deal with sex and sexuality, and more than an few books deal with abuse of this nature, but it isn't described in "quivering" detail ;)

4. Word Count- I agree you're high here for YA, so the major question is, have you edited yet? If so, how much have you already cut and how brutally? How much are you willing to cut? I struggle with this too. My current YA manuscript is a hefty 111k words, but I've revised four times and cut nearly 30k words so far. If you haven't mercilessly liposuctioned your writing yet, do that before making a decision here.


I'm sure there are many, many more bullet points to add to this list, but hopefully these few help. I think you've got an interesting concept, I'd like to read the query for it. I'd love feedback on my inquiry if you are able, thanks! http://agentquerycon...on/#entry353277

#4 cmmg


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Posted 24 April 2018 - 10:04 AM

I think tone is important here. And the character focus. Ender's Game is about children, but the narrator is not really close to the character. This isn't a tight POV. The character is important, but the voice and character are not really focused on in the plot. There's a lack of interiorority. I


Themes really depend on execution. But let's dissect this: Young Elites by Marie Lu. Themes of murder, revenge, being cast out, descending into evil. Pretty dark. But all these themes have TIGHT character focus. On the one hand, the character does really change, but this is because of the character arc being integral to the story. I don't think your character arc is integral to the story. The other thing about that book is the voice. The character POVS are very strong in voice, and while they do discuss adult themes, it's heavily filtered through the POV of the character. You get a LOT of what the characters are thinking and feeling. The pacing is also much tighter in YA typically.

The real test is how well you know the market in terms of tone and way the story is told, here. YA and Adult are actually pretty different in how they execute character. Read some books with dark themes, look at how they tackle voice, character, POV, and how much interior thoughts they give to character. Then pick whichever your book is closest to.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction, Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult

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