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Old 08-14-2012, 09:59 PM   #1
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YA Fiction: Prestige-free?

Here's an article from Salon.com prestige in writing, and the lack thereof in YA fiction outside of the YA audience. I found it interesting.

http://www.salon.com/2012/08/15/a_prestige_free_zone/
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:47 AM   #2
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Yanno, I'm honestly not sure what the article is trying to say (a common issue with me and Salon LOL). There have been crossover writers (especially between YA and Sci-fi) for as long as I've been reading. Maybe not with the same crazed sense of bestseller prestige that's been going around recently, but the authors have still ventured across that particular aisle by men. RA Heinlein comes to mind most immediately, followed closely by Piers Anthony. I know I know of more, but it's been a long day.

Or am I missing the point entirely? (I do that sometimes, don't mind me.)
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:56 AM   #3
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Sci-fi was horrifically low prestige in the fifties and sixties, and it didn't stop men from owning the field. The same guys are the ones talking about YA not being worth doing. In fact, they can't write it successfully.

Personally, I think that the same sensibilities that make female erotica writers so generally successful, are the same sensibilities that are needed in YA. And the men who do well in it are the guys who have similar sensibilities, just as is true in erotica.

Furthermore, since the payoff in YA doesn't include a moneyshot-- there may be less encouragement for men to pay attention to it.

(I totally admit that it's hard for me to think about writing it.)
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:02 AM   #4
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Now that I've worked out what YA means (Young Adult apparently) I have a question ...

Would Literotica (does anyone know?) tend to cater for younger or older people? Or is there no particular age group of readers?

I can think of reasons why younger people might visit, and why older people might visit. But that would be pure speculation.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sun_sea_sky View Post
Now that I've worked out what YA means (Young Adult apparently) I have a question ...

Would Literotica (does anyone know?) tend to cater for younger or older people? Or is there no particular age group of readers?

I can think of reasons why younger people might visit, and why older people might visit. But that would be pure speculation.
I don't think erotica as a genre is divided by age in its readership. Particular categories on Lit maybe, like Mature for the older age group possibly. But this is just speculation really.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stella_Omega View Post
Sci-fi was horrifically low prestige in the fifties and sixties, and it didn't stop men from owning the field. The same guys are the ones talking about YA not being worth doing. In fact, they can't write it successfully.

Personally, I think that the same sensibilities that make female erotica writers so generally successful, are the same sensibilities that are needed in YA. And the men who do well in it are the guys who have similar sensibilities, just as is true in erotica.

Furthermore, since the payoff in YA doesn't include a moneyshot-- there may be less encouragement for men to pay attention to it.

(I totally admit that it's hard for me to think about writing it.)
Curiously, I know of one author (not published in the commercial sense) who wrote an excellent erotica series which he then got a (semi-vanity press) contract for in a cleaned-up older YA version. The portability was always there, interestingly enough. I'm sort of disappointed by how it was edited, but I applaud him for the success.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by damppanties View Post
I don't think erotica as a genre is divided by age in its readership. Particular categories on Lit maybe, like Mature for the older age group possibly. But this is just speculation really.
I can't speak for the YA readers, but I can certainly speak for myself. I have no trouble at all with erotic stories targeted for any particular age. I guess I'm easy to please, because my mind automatically makes age substitutions to suit my tastes as I read. If the love interest in the story is 62, for example, my brain seamlessly registers her age as 26. She may tighten her girdle on paper, but in my mind she's adjusting her thong. The bowling balls that droop in a sling down to her navel snap to perky attention high on her chest and the age spots on her back become a tramp stamp. Fishnets always hug and complement every sexy curve of her legs. They never have tears in them repaired with duct tape, nor contain any actual fish. Even though I love fish.

I guess most guys think the same way.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:13 AM   #8
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<snipped stuff about sexy thangs>

I guess most guys think the same way.
Most authors also write the same way.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:28 AM   #9
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That's why I try not to exclude people when I write. Once you mention an age, hair colour, body type, ethnicity, breast size, cock size, you are excluding people. Leave that out and we can all imagine we are the "hero/heroine".
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:18 AM   #10
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When females walk in the front door prestige leaves by the back door. Females are what I call 'flavor grabbers.' Not all! But most.

The trouble is our sexes. Males are natural born Romantics and drip it from their fingertips, females are natural born Accountants with green eye shades who spend their lives questing for romance. Males live and breath romance, like the male lion; females wanna see the king of beasts walk on its hind legs.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by desertslave View Post
Yanno, I'm honestly not sure what the article is trying to say (a common issue with me and Salon LOL). There have been crossover writers (especially between YA and Sci-fi) for as long as I've been reading. Maybe not with the same crazed sense of bestseller prestige that's been going around recently, but the authors have still ventured across that particular aisle by men. RA Heinlein comes to mind most immediately, followed closely by Piers Anthony. I know I know of more, but it's been a long day.
Agreed. The author of the Salon article seems to have pulled this from her butt. Lacking in prestige according to whom and compared to what?

I suppose there is the divide between genre fiction and Literature, but that puts YA in no worse position than other genres, and I'd venture there's more prestige in writing a successful YA story than there is in romances, thrillers, or what have you.

Sci-fi writers have indeed never shied away from this form. Frank Herbert's Dune comes to mind as a super well-known example. And then, change the name a little and call it Bildungsroman, and suddenly you can claim some universally acknowledged literary classics as your parentage as well.

Even the claim that the field is dominated by women rings false, as the author forgets comic books, a field full of YA stories and still dominated by male authors and audiences. She seems to have some kind of misguided 'poor women' agenda in which she takes away women writer's successes so she could lament their fate.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:29 AM   #12
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Prestige? As compared to whom and what?

Writers in general don't care about prestige. Show us the money. If not we'll give it away for free.

Can you spell hookers, boys and girls.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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Laura Miller's an idiot. She writes this kind of crap all the time, often with the self-admitted caveat of "I can't prove it." During National Novel Writing Month a couple years back, she made the case that "the world doesn't need any more books." The world doesn't need any pop-culture pundits, either, but that doesn't slow her down.

Dime-store elitist crap.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:45 AM   #14
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Laura Miller's an idiot. She writes this kind of crap all the time, often with the self-admitted caveat of "I can't prove it." During National Novel Writing Month a couple years back, she made the case that "the world doesn't need any more books." The world doesn't need any pop-culture pundits, either, but that doesn't slow her down.

Dime-store elitist crap.
She may be making it all up, but if anything, bemoaning the lack of prestige for best-selling YA authors is not elitist--it's the opposite, and is in fact attacking the elitism of the literary world.

Or at least, that's how I understood it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:12 PM   #15
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I think I could write a children's book...and I'm working on erotic and sci-fi stuff. I just never thought of young adult partly because I don't know where to draw the line. Though lately it doesn't seem like there is much of a line. Hunger Games is young adult yet it's about kids killing each other so their distract gets food. Hardly something for children, but than many movies and video games I think aren't appropriate for kids are played by anyone who isn't mature. Still I will work on good stories and to get published I'm willing to market it accordingly.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by LettersFromTatyana View Post
She may be making it all up, but if anything, bemoaning the lack of prestige for best-selling YA authors is not elitist--it's the opposite, and is in fact attacking the elitism of the literary world.

Or at least, that's how I understood it.
It's my opinion from reading her articles that Miller is a huge elitist, is obfuscating her point in this article, and sides with the people she's ostensibly criticizing. I could be wrong, of course.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by LettersFromTatyana View Post
She may be making it all up, but if anything, bemoaning the lack of prestige for best-selling YA authors is not elitist--it's the opposite, and is in fact attacking the elitism of the literary world.

Or at least, that's how I understood it.
I think youíre willing to be kinder to her than her article deserves. She sticks together three authors that belong together only in a rather loose sense, and skips over others, like Philip Pullman, just because they donít fit her agenda.

Further, if each of the books she arbitrarily chose met with some negative criticism in addition to commercial success, perhaps there were reasons for it other than the writersí gender. Itís rather offensive to suggest that critics who were not enthused cared more about the authorís gender than about the books.

Furthermore, defending three authors who are surely crying all the way to the bank strikes me as scraping the bottom of the barrel of Ďcausesí. These and other women writers have done very well indeed without any such helpers, and if anything is sexist, itís to demand they get uncritical love from everyone simply on the account of being women.

Iíll go with mcguiness and the descriptor Ďidiotí.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:39 PM   #18
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It seems if nothing else, citing the article did indeed start a discussion.

I myself did not read a lot of YA novels when I was at the YA age. I read some, because my friends had them and I'd read whatever was lying around. But I remember reading things like Dune and going off on SF.

I think there are some very good YA novels out there -- I've read a few and just the law of averages would seem to indicate some must be good. However, adults do tend to dismiss a lot of teen and kid stuff.

As for the violence someone mentioned in Hunger Games. True, you might think that it's "too much" for the age group. But go back and check out some non-disneyfied fairy tales. In "The Little Mermaid," the witch cut the mermaid's tongue out (I read that when I was ten). Even in the Disney ones, check out how many start with violence, especially the loss of a parent (also in the Hunger Games, although it was the father gone instead of the usual mother).

Many kids' stories were never as cute as we think.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:58 PM   #19
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I currently have a YA title in Amazon, "Not A Hero." If I can have the sales totals of Hunger Games, someone else, hell anyone else, can have the prestige. To misquote the very old song:
Prestige gives me thrills
prestige don't pay my bills
I wants money, honey!
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:09 PM   #20
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It seems if nothing else, citing the article did indeed start a discussion.
I wasnít shooting the messenger! I hope it didnít come across that way.

Itís just that I see no evidence for the claim that YA is a special Cinderella of literature, and still less for the claims that women dominate the genre and that itís precisely this alleged dominance that earns the genre its alleged snubbing.

The author of the article seems dimly aware of some actual issues concerning women and prestige (yes, women still get less money and less adulation for performing same tasks as men) as well as of some legitimate issues of art criticism, e.g. to what extent are we hopelessly skewed toward the male experience/point of view/taste/etc. as that which is worthy and Ďuniversalí. But then she makes a mess of it, glues it with spit and haywire, and sticks it onto a click-attracting target of recent bestsellers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
As for the violence someone mentioned in Hunger Games. True, you might think that it's "too much" for the age group. But go back and check out some non-disneyfied fairy tales. In "The Little Mermaid," the witch cut the mermaid's tongue out (I read that when I was ten). Even in the Disney ones, check out how many start with violence, especially the loss of a parent (also in the Hunger Games, although it was the father gone instead of the usual mother).

Many kids' stories were never as cute as we think.
Very true, and also, YA may be about coming of age but isnít necessarily aimed at teen readers. Lord of the Flies can be called a YA book but that doesnít make it a book for kids. Genres and marketing categories can be rather slippery.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #21
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It seems if nothing else, citing the article did indeed start a discussion.

I myself did not read a lot of YA novels when I was at the YA age. I read some, because my friends had them and I'd read whatever was lying around. But I remember reading things like Dune and going off on SF.

I think there are some very good YA novels out there -- I've read a few and just the law of averages would seem to indicate some must be good. However, adults do tend to dismiss a lot of teen and kid stuff.

As for the violence someone mentioned in Hunger Games. True, you might think that it's "too much" for the age group. But go back and check out some non-disneyfied fairy tales. In "The Little Mermaid," the witch cut the mermaid's tongue out (I read that when I was ten). Even in the Disney ones, check out how many start with violence, especially the loss of a parent (also in the Hunger Games, although it was the father gone instead of the usual mother).

Many kids' stories were never as cute as we think.
One of my favorite authors as a kid (I read at an accelerated level from about grade 3...when I was allowed the run of the school library) was Joan Aiken. Her books were almost always about a girl or boy raised in odd circumstances, with a more worldly friend or two, and some sinister adults who were inevitably exposed by the kids. The stories themselves were rather clearly contrived in some ways, but the cautionary tale aspect always rang true. It was an interesting message to convey to kids.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:18 PM   #22
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I think I could write a children's book...and I'm working on erotic and sci-fi stuff. I just never thought of young adult partly because I don't know where to draw the line. Though lately it doesn't seem like there is much of a line. Hunger Games is young adult yet it's about kids killing each other so their distract gets food. Hardly something for children, but than many movies and video games I think aren't appropriate for kids are played by anyone who isn't mature. Still I will work on good stories and to get published I'm willing to market it accordingly.
Young Adult is not "children."

Aside from that, I do think that men who write YA are exceptions that prove the rule. I don't know if you've read anything else by Pullman but what I found in the library was really ooky stuff-- if I had read it before Dark Materials, I might never have read DM. Piers Anthony wasn't setting out to write YA when he started the Xanth books, but the responses he got were from young people-- old people didn't know from responses-- and that's the group he ended up writing for.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:50 PM   #23
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The female motto is, IT AINT FAIR. And THAT translates to LOSER. Blacks have the same problem, ITS TOO HARD is their motto.

That said, there are females who ignore their IT AINT FAIR crutch, and forge ahead; ditto for some blacks. People who embrace the DAMN THE TORPEDOES! FULL SPEED AHEAD! fly the WINNER flag.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:34 PM   #24
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Yep jimmy, that's about the size of it. That winner flag is SO IMPORTANT to (certain kinds of) men, they fly it with both hands. Nothing else is important-- especially not the subtleties of story.

That's one good reason why so many dudes just can't get the hang of so many types of popular (and lucrative) entertainment.

I'm going to say one more thing on this, which is when I read work by a female-named author that lets that WINNER FLAG take over and warp her story, I pretty much assume it's a dude trying to fake the audience out.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #25
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Yep jimmy, that's about the size of it. That winner flag is SO IMPORTANT to (certain kinds of) men, they fly it with both hands. Nothing else is important-- especially not the subtleties of story.

That's one good reason why so many dudes just can't get the hang of so many types of popular (and lucrative) entertainment.

I'm going to say one more thing on this, which is when I read work by a female-named author that lets that WINNER FLAG take over and warp her story, I pretty much assume it's a dude trying to fake the audience out.
I agree but I aint speaking of the story per se, I speak of the attitude behind the writing. Camille Paglia, Florence King, Peggy Noonan (occasionally), and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings are females I designate WINNER. I read whatever they write/wrote.
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