Some Differences

I want to talk about writing in different genres. I write traditional fantasy, contemporary fantasy and am playing around with some young adult stuff. It’s really strange in some ways how different these genres can be in style, and yet how similar. Here’s some things I’m noticing. When i write traditional fantasy, it can be slower to build and have more complexity to the overall plot. By that, I mean it can include more subplots and a broader cast of characters. And when I say “it can,” I mean readers have more interest and patience for that in traditional fantasy.

Contemporary fantasy is quicker. It tends to jump immediately into a problem and hustle through the action. There’s more emphasis I think on the plot than the worldbuilding, though the worldbuilding certainly has to be there. (I applied that sense of pacing to The Hollow Crown and I think it was very successful, but it was a conscious effort.)

Young Adult is far less about the worldbuilding Which means you have to be a lot more subtle and stronger in your choices because that description has to do more work. It reminds me of poetry, where you distill things down to the most essential language. The pacing is still pretty quick, the language (for me) is a little less complex–in the sense that it’s what teenagers would say and they generally haven’t developed a hugely broad vocabulary at this point.

All of them have to hit a particular kind of note in a particular kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, there is room for innovation and development, but for me, these are some of the differences I’ve encountered and it’s really interesting to me because each one teaches me a lot about writing better.

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