Welcome to our All About Sub-Genre Series in which we discuss the ins and outs of various corners of the broader fantasy market.
Today we have guest host Elise Edmonds to discuss the finer points of Young Adult fantasy.
Young Adult Fantasy
Young Adult (YA) Fantasy is a subset of fiction written for a teenage audience. As a general rule, characters in YA Fantasy are aged between 13 and 18, and the storylines focus on typical teenage experiences. YA Fantasy is identified by its characters and the issues they face, rather than by the situation. So, for example, you can have YA urban fantasy, YA steampunk, or YA adventure fantasy, etc.
Typically, YA Fantasy will contain some or all of the following themes:
Coming of Age – This theme involves dealing with the changes that life throws upon the characters in the transition from child to adult. This can involve taking on adult responsibilities, career choices, character growth, development of magical powers or skills, and realisation that the world is not as straight-forward as previously assumed.
School/Training – This theme deals with learning experiences and how teenagers take their places in the adult word of work. Many YA Fantasy books are set in schools or training institutions, or involve apprenticeships or first jobs.
Love/Romance – First love is a theme often explored in YA Fantasy, combined with learning to deal with brand-new romantic or physical feelings and the development of relationships.
Independence – Characters making their own way in the world is a key theme. They can no longer depend on the adults around them and must learn to stand on their own two feet. Often, adults are written out of the picture or take a back seat, in order to allow the teens to work things out for themselves.
Adventure/Quest – As a counterpart to the character arc, the YA Fantasy hero or heroine will often either fall into adventure, or have some kind of goal or quest to complete. They will be assisted on the way by their friends and mentor figures. YA Fantasy tends to be strongly plot-driven, and the plot progression and lessons learned on the way allows the teen character to develop and change by the end of the novel, whilst providing an exciting scenario for the reader.
In my own YA Fantasy novel, Where Carpets Fly, a teenage girl leaves her family to live in the big city and take magic lessons. She is thrown into an adventure when she takes an unexpected voyage to a neighbouring country, and everything proceeds to go wrong. Throughout the story, she learns magic, has to deal with difficult situations on her own, and also has a romance; so I combined all the elements above in my story.
So, if you enjoy exciting worlds and adventures mixed with the trials and tribulations of teenage life, YA Fantasy is the genre for you.
About Elise Edmonds
Elise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons. By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.
Some Examples of Young Adult Fantasy from our Authors
A blog about all things fantasy from the elements we all love to how to write it. Posts are from our very own Fellowship of Fantasy authors.