For Kids

Published May 27, 2018 by swankivy

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Comic pretty much says it all, but I’ll reiterate:

a) As an author you MUST read the genre you write or you will have no idea about its norms, your author peers, or what’s going on in the world you’re trying to enter/already part of;

b) WTF dude books for younger readers are often GREAT. Nobody belongs judging someone else’s choice of literature based on perceptions of what’s age appropriate. If YOU’RE not interested, that’s up to you, but shaming other people for what they like to read is totally weird and unnecessary. Go away.

5 comments on “For Kids

  • “What’s that Mr. Book? You say you don’t judge me for reading you? You’re just happy to have been bought? Well thank you Mr. Book.”

  • On the one hand I read the genre I write because that’s what I’m into. But why would you care about the norms of the genre as a writer? shouldn’t you just do your own thing?

    • Notice I didn’t say you should care about the norms in your genre so you can emulate them. I said you should know them, and it’s because it’s just good business to know what others are doing if you also want to be doing it.

      Having some basic awareness of the work of other authors helps to know what company you’ll keep if you succeed, what stories are similar enough to your own to cite as comp titles (very common in marketing and pitching these days), and what’s already been done so you don’t try to sell something that people will think is overdone in today’s market or a rip-off of something else.

      You can also make your own informed decisions about what to write if you know what’s typical in your genre (both to do something that hasn’t been done AND to properly gauge what’s typical as far as adult situations, vulgar language, or word count for your genre).

      Of course “doing your own thing” is great, but if you never check out what your fellow authors are doing, you may be ignorant of some important aspects of what’s expected and may have trouble getting published/selling your work. (Of course, if you’re not interested in your work being marketable, the advice applies less.)

  • I love this comic! Oh, how quickly they forget that the insanely popular Harry Potter books were originally YA. At least the first ones. And EVERYBODY read those. So were the Hunger Games books (I think), weren’t they? I’d much rather read any YA book than garbage like 50 Shades- which was badly written in addition to romanticizing an abusive relationship. Not to mention falsely attributing the abuse to an entire lifestyle rather than the abuser himself. I have nothing against erotica either, but it has to be, you know, GOOD. And not make me want to cry and/or throw up when I read it. I did read some of THAT book, just to see what everybody was excited about, but I soon gave up. It was pretty bad.

    I have a special place in my heart for A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, still one of my favorite books ever, even after 20+ (maybe 30?) years. It was touching as well as suspenseful and exciting. I haven’t seen the movie yet but it looks amazing, I hope it does well. YA books are not inherently “immature”, stupid, less enjoyable, or whatever silly judgments people make about them, simply because they are written for a younger audience. Same goes with anime and other cartoons. And video games too (I like Nintendo games, mostly with the cartoonish characters like Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Kirby, etc). I enjoy a lot of so-called “kid stuff” actually- and I will be 46 this November. All those judgmental jerks can suck it! I think they are secretly jealous of those of us who feel free to enjoy what we like without caring what anyone else thinks, and this makes them buttmad because they don’t have the confidence to do the same. Thus they feel a need to tear down anybody who is doing what they are afraid to do.

    And hello Ivy, from a fellow single aro-ace.::waves:: I have left some comments here and there on some of your other stuff. I can tell you as a 40+ year old single woman, that unfortunately the judgmental attitudes continue even now, at least for me they are. People at work STILL sometimes try to set me up with some brother/friend/cousin/coworker of theirs that they KNOW will be just perfect for me. Only now the efforts at matchmaking come with a nice side of pity/concern trolling for the poor “cat lady” that is not always conveyed aloud but is definitely there. Who happens to be very happy with her life (and only one cat I finally adopted) the way it is and wouldn’t change a thing. Le sigh.

    Anyway, keep up the great work on all you do, and thank you for sharing so much of it with us. 🙂

    • I totally still heard people crapping on Harry Potter and The Hunger Games because “they’re kids’ books”! Though some people seem to “make an exception” for very popular kids’ books, as if only certain books liked by enough people can possibly be good if they’re aimed at younger people. It’s weird how they’ll try such things and even enjoy them without changing their minds about the category at all.

      Yes, you’re right, YA books are not inherently “immature.” There’s just a tendency in publishing to categorize anything that focuses on a child or has a child’s point of view as YA or younger. I even had some publishing professionals “lecture” me about this for my Bad Fairy book–one agent told me I needed to go back to the drawing board and write this as a YA because babies and children do NOT think the way I had my child protagonist thinking. I was confused because I made it 100% clear from the beginning that the book was a recollection of the character’s childhood from the point of view of her adult self. Other agents and publishing professionals did not have trouble understanding this (and one of them signed me), so I know it wasn’t the book’s fault. It’s just weird how easily people fall into the trap of “it’s got a kid in it, so it’s for kids.”

      I think adults tear down kids’ stuff if it’s done by adults because they’ve always been trained to adhere tightly to certain behaviors if they want to maintain their identities. People constantly reestablish their identities if they feel they’re threatened by behaviors that are in contradiction to who they believe themselves to be, even if those behaviors are in no way inherently unlike who they are. For instance, I have a friend who went to an event with me and was interested in trying a ride until he saw the first two people in the line for it were kids. “Oh it’s for KIDS. Feh. NO. I’m not doing it, it’s not for ME, it’s for KIDS.” He sounded so angry, almost spitting, like he was DISGUSTED at the idea that he might do something KIDS do. Even though I pointed out that the ride had a weight limit on it of 250 pounds (unlikely to be a restriction if it’s aimed at small kids, right?), he refused to get in line for it even though he had initially wanted to try it. UNTIL the kids’ dad got on it. Then all of a sudden it was okay for him to do. People are even worse about it when it comes to gender. “No, that’s for WOMEN!” “. . . It’s soap. Your man soap is scented and has moisturizers in it too.” “But it won’t work for ME, it’s for WOMEN!” Ah, my friend told me about some absurd commercial where a man accidentally used his female partner’s soap and had to reaffirm his masculinity afterwards by aggressively mowing the lawn, boxing with a punching bag, and all that. What makes them panic over this ridiculousness? Do they really think they become less who they are through these behaviors even if they like them? Maybe they also feel that if they don’t shame others for doing the Wrong Things, they’ll get lumped in with people who do the wrong things and have THEIR maturity questioned. I’m so far past having my maturity questioned for what I like that I just laugh at the idea now. I don’t think I’ve EVER had my maturity questioned by someone I think acts mature themselves.

      And thanks for the personal note! I do like to joke that now that I’m 40 the concern-trolling over my relationships will finally have a different flavor–goodbye “you’ll change your mind when you mature,” hello “oh it’s so sad you never found someone and now you’re past your prime/maybe you’re just too old to want it anymore.” It’s at least a change of scene. But it’s honestly not much different for me. People will forever assume that being partnered is preferred to being unpartnered, and that those of us who would actively prefer to be unpartnered are just making excuses. If I live to be 200 I will never understand why people can’t accept that their feelings are not universal.

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