More than halfway through Nanowrimo I gave up. I didn’t stop writing completely. Instead, there was another story begging to be written and I was so much more fired up about it. I rolled with it, started to add it’s word count to my Nano word count, and it is going so much better. I’ve wanted to write Young Adult fantasy fiction for a long time now and it’s finally working.
So I ventured out into Google to look up some YA cliches that I could try to avoid. Many of them have some pretty good ground to stand on, but I can’t say that I agree with all of what I found. I’ll start with what I just can’t agree with.
- Love Triangles: I agree that love triangles can be found in so many books these days. How many young adults seriously have two admirers? Or even let something like that go on for that long? Shitty people. Or people with low self esteem. And it can be incredibly hurtful to let something like that go on. I’m done with it, authors. Totally done with it.
- Cinderells: I’m not talking the girl who works too much then goes to the ball. I’m talking about the girl who thinks she’s the most boring and ugly person in the world, but some boy comes along to tell her she’s beautiful and suddenly she is and she believes it. I’m more a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake who has such awful dysmorphia that she WILL NOT believe herself to be pretty. Or, even better, is a girl who finds what she likes and doesn’t like in herself. That’s more believable.
- The Chosen One: We were totally cool when Buffy became the Slayer. It was a cool dichotomy between Barbie and Rambo that had personality. But, many of the YA protags these days are Chosen Ones, fumbling their way to doing the Thing while they fight against it. Why can’t they choose to be the One? That’s a way better character trait for your protag to have.
Then again, there are some things that I’m totally cool with YA books doing:
- Trilogies: I know. I know. So many of you might be hating on it, but done right the reader gets a whole lot more bang for a little more buck. I particularly love the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor or Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Both produced trilogy series with a huge amount of plot that couldn’t possibly fit into one book. Each book could stand alone, but worked better together.
- Rebellion: One article I read particularly hated rebellion in Utopian/Dystopian reads. But part of the reason for these kinds of settings is rebellion. Utopian settings like Divergent nearly almost always fail. Rebellion against awful governments in YA literature prompts young people to make sure their own government is doing them right.
- What if I Cant?: Aren’t we all doing this already? We already wake up and wonder if we can go on with a stressful day or even the everyday. Seeing a protagonist question their path helps the reader relate and it can be inspiring for a reader. If Harry Potter can end Voldemort then surely we can get out of bed.
YA has become so largely popular in the last decade. Harry Potter and Twilight (cough kill me cough) brought it into the forefront and so many authors have followed up with great fiction. I do realize that the only reason that these are cliches is because the market is flooded. I can only hope that with enough love and passion I can write a truly awesome YA novel.