Tag Archives: epic fantasy

Burning Out on Your Fav Genre

28 Oct

Before every YA fantasy writer in the world loses their mind, I want to start out by saying that I, myself, am a YA fantasy writer and reader. Again, try not to lose your minds. This isn’t a personal attack. There’s some AMAZING YA SFF coming out right now. My most recent fav was Warcross by Marie Lu. But lately, I have been so burnt out on YA fantasy.

Being burnt out on YA SFF makes me sad, too.

Honestly, this is really difficult for me to admit. I LOVE YA fantasy. I’ve always read it, I mainly write it, and I’m constantly on the lookout for more of it. But recently, I have picked up book after book after book—and I’ve barely been able to connect. Worse? At first I thought it must’ve been the authors or the stories. Then, after a self-criticizing conversation with myself, I realized it was my fault.

You see, all I’ve been reading and writing is YA SFF—and that’s the problem. While writers are constantly told that they need to be reading what they are writing, we aren’t told as often to read outside of what we’re writing, and reading outside of your genre is just as important. Why? Because it teaches different approaches, different voices, different everything. And it helps you from burning out.

So what do you do when you burn out on your favorite genre?

 1. Try a different sub-genre

One genre has a million sub-categories, so try one you don’t usually pick up. For instance, fantasy is a HUGE umbrella term. Maybe you’re reading too much epic fantasy or urban fantasy. Try historical fantasy instead. Or reach into the fringes and grab that alien-vampire-cowboy mash-up you’ve been secretly eyeing.

2. Try a new age category

Don’t forget that there’s a fantasy section in the children’s, YA, and adult sections. Heck, grab a graphic novel. Each age category tends to have a unique approach, and it might help freshen your understanding of your genre. If you’re super unsure, see if any of your favorite writers write in different age categories. Ex. Victoria Schwab writes YA and adult fantasy.

3. Try a new genre completely

Yes, you’re supposed to write what you read, but seriously, reading other genres is just as important. Pick up a contemporary book. Browse some poetry. Reach into the great unknown. Honestly, this option is the one that helps me the most.

I’ve recently been reading more—*gasp*—contemporary, like Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde and Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra. (Both highly recommended by the way). And, honestly, I wish I started reading them earlier this year. I wasn’t paying attention to how burnt out I was getting—how much reading and writing only fantasy was drowning my creativity and enjoyment—but these books quickly pulled me out of a slump once I started them. I’ve even been able to read fantasy again—and sure enough, after a little break, I started loving each story.

Basically, the point of this post is to remind writers that, yes, while you should always be reading what you write, you should also make time to read genres and age categories that you don’t write. Why? Because it expands your pallet. It resets your writing gears. It resets everything.

And it’s fun.

~SAT

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#SATurdate: Me Before You, Thief of Lies, Pit Mad, & Bad Bloods Sequel

11 Jun

I’ll be signing books and hosting an author panel at TWO Barnes & Nobles this weekend for #BFest! Come see me today at Oak Park Mall’s B&N in Overland Park, Kansas from noon to 3 PM, or stop by Zona Rosa’s B&N in Kansas City, Missouri from 2 PM to 4 PM tomorrow!

What I’m Writing:

So remember how I finished the mysterious manuscript known as D? Well, I started outlining N, the sequel to D. Granted, since I wrote the original D years ago, I also wrote an outline for a sequel years ago, and I had to go through it to see what was salvageable. Spoiler alert: almost nothing.

I also joined #PitMad this week, which was a lot of fun! I’m actually helping host a writers group on Facebook—Twice the Jennifers—while author Jennifer Anne Davis is out of town, and I recommended that everyone with a completed unpublished manuscript join #PitMad, so I thought I would get in on the fun! I love these contests because you can connect with great people, and I’ve also received priceless advice by participating. Also, if you’re looking for an awesome online writer’s group, you should apply to join Twice the Jennifers! For all of you wondering what D is about…Well, here it is:

As you can see, it’s about a 16-year-old Wing Chun fighter with narcolepsy who portals to a shadowy dreamscape where nightmares are people, princes need saving, and spirits steal our subconscious. I’d compare the overall gothic feel to Splintered by A.G. Howard and the world-building to Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

P.S. D = Dreammare. N = Nighttrance. I’ll call these novels by their titles from now on.

What I’m Publishing:

I FINALLY got my hands on pre-release copies of November Snow, part two of Bad Bloods, which means some of you are already reading it! If you’re interested in reviewing Bad Bloods on your blog, please e-mail me at shannonathompson@aol.com. For those of you already reading, I hope you’re enjoying the duology. If you didn’t see the latest Teaser Tuesday, check out my right side tool bar, but here is the #1lineWed preview. This week’s theme was numbers:

In other exciting news, I’ve spoken to Clean Teen Publishing about the possibility of continuing Bad Bloods. Originally, when I first started off writing Bad Bloods when I was eleven, my plan was to write 12 books—one book for each month of the year—and I wrote a sequel and outlined a third book. Granted, I haven’t rewritten these novels, but I’m considering continuing the Bad Bloods series in the future. But that’s all I can say for now! We will see.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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What I’m Reading:

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

I finished Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, and I LOVED it. It was an addictive, thrilling, & personal tale of twisted deceit. I recommended it to readers of suspense, mysteries, thrillers, and those who love detailed, personal voices. Read my 5-star review here.

I also started re-reading Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake! I originally read this wonderful novel when it first came out in January, but I just had to read it again! If you haven’t checked out this book, do so. I’ll write a more in-depth review soon, since I didn’t write one the first time, but I love, love, love this story.

What I’m Listening To:

My roaring AC. It is the summer!

What I’m Watching:

Me Before You: I LOVED it. And I cried nearly the whole way through it. Emily Clarke did a FANTASTIC job of Lou without her Game of Thrones character leaking through, and Sam Claflin was perfection (as per usual).

movies

I also watched the documentary Girl Rising, which is about educating young girls from around the world. Their stories are heartbreaking, honest, and moving. Then, I saw the documentary Code Black, which is about emergency room situations in county hospitals and the health care crisis in America. I recommend both (and they are both on Netflix).

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Since I had extra ingredients left over from s’mores cookies last week, I made literal s’mores this week. Granted, I did this on my gas stove…and dropped a marshmallow onto the flame, so it smells like burnt marshmallows in my house. It could be worse. Wink.

What I’m Wearing:

Work out gear, because I’ve been moving furniture all week. But I got a new bed! Yipee! (Things I never thought I’d be excited about when I was younger.)

What I’m Wanting:

13327458_1056510257729488_2781665878724677783_nSomeone to decide what I should write next. I don’t have a lot of writing time, but between editing Take Me Yesterday, outlining Nighttrance, writing a Bad Bloods sequel, or continuing with the mysterious S, I feel like my creative heart is being pulled in a million directions. So many books, so little time.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

All of my cats were running around the front yard, but so were a bunch of bobcats. I kept chasing the bobcats away, but the bobcats were relentless, and though they never snapped at my cats, I kept feeling like they were trying to eat my cats. It was a definite nightmare for my catlady self.

What Else Is Going On:

Photo from today's B-Fest book signing at Oak Park Mall!

Photo from today’s B-Fest book signing at Oak Park Mall!

I’ll be signing books and hosting an author panel at TWO Barnes & Nobles this weekend for #BFest! Come see me today at Oak Park Mall’s B&N in Overland Park, Kansas from noon to 3 PM, or stop by Zona Rosa’s B&N in Kansas City, Missouri from 2 PM to 4 PM tomorrow!

~SAT

#WW 2016 YA Reading Predictions

23 Dec

As the year comes to an end, readers are looking forward to new releases in 2016…and authors are nervous about all the predictions coming out. (Come on, I know I’m not the only one.) I’ve already read a few myself—and they ALWAYS freak me out. So what better way to combat them than by joining in on the fun?

These are just my silly predictions for 2016. Basically, I’m just having fun! (And I hope you have fun too.) A slight disclaimer: if you’re an author, please don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet my “predictions.” I mean, I have two dystopian novels coming out in 2016, despite my predictions being against it, so trust me, I don’t think any sort of predictions should stop anyone from publishing what they’re publishing. In fact, I think predictions can be rather silly. Readers pick what’s hot and what’s not. Not publishers, not authors, not booksellers. Readers do.

This is just for fun.

Without further ado…

Alternate History: Personally—and I know I’m not of the popular opinion—I think 2016 will become the year of alternate history books. This sort of ties into other dimensions, which is the next sub-genre I want to discuss, but I’m seeing a huge growth in alternate history books stretching over numerous genres, which is why I think it’s so powerful. You can have an alternate history in sci-fi—think Man in the High Castle, which has just become an Amazon original (and is awesome by the way) about the Nazis winning WWII—and then think of steampunk or historical romance, where we have books like The Inventor’s Secret, in which the American Revolution never happened. Granted, these could just be “other dimensions,” but I had to separate them from the next topic, because these alternate history tales aren’t always explained by alternate dimensions; they simply can just be. If I had to get specific, I think this will get hugely popular around the fall season…or even move into 2017, especially if steampunk is involved. Either way, alternate history can thread itself into all genres seamlessly…including what I think will be the biggest trend: Other dimensions.

Dimensions: This is the MAIN one I see growing. Other dimension stories—like Trial by Fire or A Thousand Pieces of You—are continuing their trilogies, and from what I’ve noticed in the industry, when books get to their final pieces, that’s when the genre is at its hottest, so you might be looking at 2017, too. Ex. Winter in The Lunar Chronicles and Ensnared in Splintered—the last in their series—just released in the same year fairy tale retellings were HUGE. So, if your book includes other dimensions, readers might be fighting for it in 2016 and 2017. That being said, I HAVE to tackle fairy tale retellings…

Fairy tale retellings: Can we talk about this without someone getting upset with me? Many are claiming this is going to be the hottest genre in 2016, but I’ll tell you what…I’m a bit tired of them. I love them; please don’t get me wrong. In fact, I just finished Winterspell by Claire Legrand, and it was one of my favorite reads all year. (It’s a retelling of The Nutcracker.) I just think that I’m ready for something else, so this is probably biased, but I actually think readers are going to sway away from fairy tale retellings by the time we get halfway through 2016. I think 2015 was the year for fairy tales. I mean, I just went to the bookstore the other day, and EVERYTHING was a fairy tale retelling. There was a glass slipper or an apple on nearly every cover. It was exhausting. I like variety as much as the next person. So, while I love fairy tales—and I definitely think they are still going to do great—I don’t think they are going to be the star of the show like they were last year.

Here are five books I'm looking forward to that already have covers!

Here are five 2016 books I’m looking forward to that already have covers! (The cover for The Winner’s Kiss will now keep the original design for the hardback! So excited!) 

In a quick sum up, I think aliens/galaxy novels are growing, especially at the beginning of the year with the release of The 5th Wave movie (and the last book in the trilogy releasing, The Last Star). I also don’t think dystopian is going away at all, despite big publishers claiming they are, hence why Lionsgate is hoping to continue The Hunger Games franchise with prequels. (Here’s an article.) There’s still value in the genre—probably because of the state of the world—but I do see dystopian swinging more into books that combine dystopian elements with epic fantasy, meaning it’s an entirely new world separated from our world. Think of The Jewel by Amy Ewing (Her last book in this trilogy should release in 2016 as well). Basically, not “the US once existed, but now it doesn’t” dystopian, but rather “this is a brand-new world with dystopian governments doing terrible things.” This also means I’m seeing more epic fantasy in general. New world, new rules, new faces, new creatures, and of course, maps. So many more maps! Think of The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. If you have a map in the front of your book, you’re doing 2016 right.

And finally…covers: I can’t talk about books without talking about book covers. From what I can tell, fancy fonts and symbolism is the “in” thing, especially feathers. Has anyone else noticed that? Feathers are freakin’ everywhere. Girls in dresses are somehow staying popular, and despite the overload of them, I think they’re here to stay. People love them too much. (I mean, they are gorgeous, aren’t they?) I have a hate-love relationship with them myself. But—yes—I think 2016 will be the year of symbols on the cover rather than people. That and hand-painted designs. Anything with special graphics, unique fonts, and/or strange artwork will be grabbed off shelves for their looks.

So, what do you think?

Any genre you see growing? Any genre you see simmering down?

Again, these are just my silly little predictions. Nothing too serious.

Just have fun,

~SAT

It’s official! There will be a Bad Bloods cover reveal for BOTH books on January 6. I will send out a newsletter December 29, asking for help, and three of you will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain

If you want to be a part of it, sign up for my newsletter here. (No purchase necessary, your information will never be given away, and you can unsubscribe at any time. I only send out one email per month, if that.)

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774959_954867311227117_7029831497832645098_oQuick shout-out to my lovely publisher, Clean Teen Publishing. These hard-working ladies crafted the most thoughtful gifts for the CTP authors this holiday season. They made this ‘S’ out of excerpts from The Timely Death Trilogy! How neat is that?

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1 (FREE)

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

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Death Before Daylight: book 3

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