I've written on here before about my intent to write for middle grade, young adult, and adult age categories within fantasy and science fiction. Most of what I've written lately has been adult epic fantasy, but I'm not finding much luck with that. Don't get me wrong. I love these stories. I'm just not sure they're what I want to write at this point in my writing career.
Recently, I've resumed work on my middle grade fantasy series, and I've really been enjoying it. I also have more and more YA ideas bouncing around in my head. Now I feel I've read enough YA that I can do these ideas justice (don't be fooled by the relative lack of these titles in my reading list. I just haven't gotten around to reviewing them yet). For me, there's something about a great MG or YA book that still speaks to me in a way I don't often find in adult fantasy and science fiction.
In MG, I find the fun and adventure that made me fall in love with fantasy in the first place. In YA, some of this is still there, but there's frequently a darker mood, which I like as long as you don't overdo it. Not to mention, both MG and YA have a way of playing on emotions. In a way, I think they make for some of the easiest books and characters to relate to, and not just for kids and teens. After all, we've all been kids and teens. I'd like to think we remember what it was like.
When I was a kid first reading Harry Potter, I loved the idea of kids having adventures like that. As an adult, I can still appreciate these stories as the adventures I wish I'd had at that age. In a way, maybe I'm still a kid at heart.
Then there's the romance aspect of YA. Admittedly, I haven't had much romantic success in my life. I've always been off in my own world, coming up with my stories. So I think the romance of YA fantasy does appeal to me, perhaps more than it once did.
All this contemplation was brought on by finishing Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone. It was a great book that reminded me of how good YA fantasy can be. On the surface, it looks generic, but I felt a deep connection with the characters and even had teary eyes a few times. Maybe it's the fact that I know I couldn't have handled such situations at that age. That, I think, is what makes books for younger readers resonate so deeply with me.
So now I think I've had an idea on how to fix one of my epic fantasies. It might actually work better as a YA story. I'd have to cut one of the characters, but his plotline was the one giving me trouble anyways. The two teenage girls had stories that came to me much more easily.
Hmm. maybe I'll try balancing two projects at the same time again. Decisions, decisions...