Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Genre: New Adult?

Okay, what do you all think of the budding New Adult genre? To recap: St. Martin's Press is actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience and is holding a contest in search of same. Writers across the blogosphere rejoice.

And it seems that New Adult is intended to cover much more than simply "YA, but with 19-year-olds instead of 16-year-olds." If you read S. Jae-Jones's post (and thank you to Anne Allen for that link), you will see that New Adult may well be the hot place to be. Chabon, Gaiman, Diaz, Murakami, Eggers, Niffenegger, Foer, Ellis? And a possible re-branding for that redheaded stepchild of modern publishing, chick lit? SIGN ME UP.

So, what's your take on this? Have you been writing New Adult all along without knowing it? Is it the sort of thing you read? Does giving the genre a name help, or hurt, or have no effect whatsoever?

And, what genre do YOU write? I would set up a poll, but I want everyone to be able to label themselves as they see fit, with cross-genres and meta descriptions and all...

ETA: I found a blog post today that is somewhat related to my post from yesterday, and I hope you'll head over there and make your opinions known. Where Are The Men?

16 comments:

  1. I write women's fiction, but my current protagonist (manuscript I'm editing) is 22. Is that too old? Actually, my mc in the novel I'm writing is 25, so I guess I should just stick with adult.

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  2. Apparently "New Adult" protagonists are 18-29, so you're well within range:

    "Fiction applicable to older teens and twentysomethings, please. For guidelines, the protagonist should be 18 or older, but 20s are preferred."

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  3. I didn't realize there was a title for it but I've noticed Meg Cabot writes that age group. It's hard for a successful YA author to do adult novels as well, so it provides a market for her.

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  4. I didn't know there was a name for this. One of the projects I am currently working on has a post-high school protagonist, and I was wondering what the market would be for it. Apparently, I am keeping up with times without realizing it.

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  5. I wonder sometimes -- am I writing myself into a difficult corner? 1) I hate using profanity and write dialogue that feels real to me, but without foul language 2) I tend to write about themes of morality and redemption 3) I often write about subject matter that is tough and often dark, like drugs, crime, people who are very confused and involved in bad things. Is there a genre that allows me to effectively take these routes and be marketable to any particular audience? Why is profanity so prevalent in much modern writing and especially screen plays? I find it to be a disturbing trend.
    Lee

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  6. The mc in the first novel I wrote was 18. The book had several problems, but one of its largest shortfalls was that that the characters all floated in a no mans land - to old for YA, to young for adult. In my next novel I dropped my characters ages down to 16 to make it more solidly YA.

    I read a lot of YA, and have definitely noticed a lot of YA authors writing books with college age characters too. I think Chick Lit has had a finger on this emerging market for a while but calling it "New Adult" instead of chick lit will open the door for male protagonists.

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  7. When I first started writing I would have loved to write a book for 18-24- year-olds. Then I discovered that wasn't an acceptable age group. I write MG now, but maybe someday I'll write a "New Adult" book.

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  8. It's literary fiction for me. Not that I don't have a sweet spot for well-written fantasy and sci-fi. I've just gravitated toward the slice-of-life literary short story since I started writing again.

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  9. I love the idea of New Adult books. I love didn't stop loving YA style books just because I aged past the protagonists. This could create more room for great books with slightly older protags for people who've loved YA all their lives.

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  10. I think this term could be useful for me if I ever get around to marketing a work of fiction. However, the list in the S. Jae-Jones post you linked to seemed odd to me. Dave Eggers and Audrey Niffenegger, for example, might have been limited by a "new adult" label if they had been marketed that way.

    It might really help a book that really is straddling the line between YA and adult fiction. Margo Rabb, for example, wrote a great book called Cures for Heartbreak that was ultimitely labeled as YA--even though excerpts had been published in mainstream, adult magazines. "New Adult" would probably open up her writing to a wider audience.

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  11. I'm for it.

    What is it?

    kidding.

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  12. I entered the contest Saturday. My protag is 17 but the content is something "new adults" would grasp better than younger ones.

    The genre name itself sounds a little weird, but being a 30-something who delights in (and writes) young adult fantasy, I think it's an interesting market.

    Jen

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  13. I'm so excited about this new interest in this area. I've often come up with ideas that would involve an older teen/college age person but steered away from it because those books seem to have no home. I think this is great. That time in life is so full of transition, I think it will fertile ground for new, exciting stories.

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  14. That's just plain awesome. Er... I think I could fit into "New Adult" (it sounds kind of like cutting edge porn though)because my protagonist is 29, but I'm not sure. I love the idea of a new genre though.

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  15. Fantastic genre. I am sure there will be a few writers out there going- yeah, finally, that is what I have been writing for years man!

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