Hard Fantasy vs Soft Fantasy for Children

Patrick Rothfuss profile

Patrick Rothfuss image was taken from this interview.

In that Talks at Google with Patrick Rothfuss from my last post, he answers a question dear to my heart. I usually discuss it in relation to children’s theatre, but it holds. They’re smarter than you think.

Audience Question: How hard is it to make hard fantasy versus soft fantasy for children?

Rothfuss: There’s an unfortunate tendency among people in general to say, oh, I’ll just write a fantasy novel because you can just make stuff up. And that’s wrong, because that’s not – you can just do a bunch of stuff and magic will make it make sense. You can, but that’s not good writing, it’s not good storytelling, it’s not good craft.

In my opinion, similarly, people, sometimes, in the genre, are like, well, boy, I wish I could write YA because then kids don’t know what a plot hole is, they don’t care about consistent characterization, they’re not gonna call me on the million dragons ecology problem that I’ve created, this is not a sustainable eco-structure. But that, in my opinion, is a really egregious cop-out. Because in the same way that food that we feed our children should be actually held to a higher standard than the food you give to an adult, because an adult can say, blech, this is awful, or they can read the label and go, oh, this has terrible things in it and it’s going to make me sick and give me cancer. A kid can’t. 

And so you owe it to kids to actually put more work into this because it’s harder to write short. It’s harder to write simply [sic]. It’s harder to do a lot of these things, and it’s harder to write cohesive, coherent, internally coherent fantasy. And you shouldn’t go to YA thinking, oh, my, this will be way easier. I can just bang out 30,000 words and then go play World of Warcraft.

No.

I do not approve.

But then again, I have not really taken a legitimate crack at YA. I know that it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for it. That’s my philosophy.”

Writing Inspiration – Talks at Google & Pixar

When I’m marketing and not working on my writing directly, I need a different kind of inspiration than writing playlists. This is actually a time when You Tube’s suggested videos help me a lot. I can listen to authors at various talks, or documentaries of my favorite movies. Here’s a little sample:

The host of this Google Talk is really awkward sometimes, but Rothfuss is so gracious and adorably intelligent.

I find this series on Pixar very helpful while I prepare for revisions or am stuck. They’re short enough that I can use them during a snack break to remind me of something I’m missing and inspirational enough to really keep me on track.

What inspires you?

New YA Fantasy to read: The Meddlers of Moonshine

I got a little peek at the cover for a new YA Fantasy, The Meddlers of Moonshine by A.E. Decker. It’s the second in the Moonlight Mayhem series.

I love the synopsis (below) and description of the series by another author, Susan Sullivan:

“I’d say it’s like Shrek meets The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy were Wednesday Addams and Toto a talking cat with bat wings.”

Sounds very cool. Fairy tale mashups are an obsession of mine and after reading some more of Decker’s work, it sounds like she’s a real find for me! In fact, I would have posted this sooner but I was gobbling up her other stories.

The Meddlers of Moonshine will be available on October 25. Until then, check out the ebook for the first in this series, The Falling of the Moon, available for $0.99 for a limited time.

Here’s the summary:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00003]Something is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it’s all his fault.

Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot’s pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.

Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!

Who’s meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.

Pre-order:

Ebook
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
World Weaver Press online store

Trade Paperback
World Weaver Press online

 

Decker Author Photo

A. E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them. This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless SkiesFireside Magazine, and in World Weaver Press’s own Specter Spectacular. Like all writers, she is owned by three cats. Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at wordsmeetworld.com or@MoonfallMayhem.

Reader Review: Dorothy Must Die

I had a hard time getting into Amy, the protagonist. At first, I thought it was because we

had so little in common; then I realized that I felt too close to her experiences being bullied (though my family situation is quite different). I purposely distanced myself from her pain because we had similar high school experiences. 


Once we’re into the story and her training, though, I flew through it. Struggling with who to believe and having a real stake in who is good vs who is evil is a pretty great hook. I do wish there was a little more dimension to Dorothy, but I suppose that’s how the original villain (Wicked Witch of the West) is portrayed…and that’s why we have prequels

It’s hard not to compare re-tellings, so Gregory Maguire’s Wicked kept popping into my brain. I mostly thought about it when Paige described the settings, and how differently Oz appears in both books versus THE MOVIE. They are not at all the same stories, thankfully, with Paige focusing on magic within the politics of Oz. Every character introduced keeps you guessing, and it may be the most interesting interpretation of Dorothy’s companions as I’ve ever seen. I also became interested in reading Baum’s original books, which is always a good sign in a re-telling.

More details on Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige at Goodreads