• A.r. Rutter

Issue 03: May 2021

Another quick note on the blog newsletter and the email: I only have a few subscribers for the email, so I'm not planning on starting the seasonal roundup newsletters until there's a little more audience for it. There's a limited number I can send & they'll take more effort, so I want to make sure people are going to get to see it.

I've also been running into the problem that I have no idea what to write about in these because I can't remember anything, so I'm making an AirTable to keep track of anything worth mentioning. So hopefully it'll be easier to maintain things.

I have an AirTable set up already for my submissions so I can track what's accepted/rejected/pending and where they went, so whenever I'm able to get subscribers to the quarterly newsletter (five to ten maybe? I'm currently at one, not counting myself) I'll be able to detail those stories and maybe share excerpts or something.

YA/Adult Lit Diversity Discourse

So recently on Twitter, a trans author made a flippant joke about how YA is basically the only place where readers can find LGBT content. The original tweet was deleted, but these tweets explaining the position further remained:

My take on this is that it's a ridiculous assertion; OP's experience might have been exactly that, but teenagers even today can be wildly homophobic and transphobic. And it's also ridiculous because the readers who read YA grow up to still have an interest in seeing diverse content. LGBT teen readers grow up to be LGBT adult readers and writers.

And because there's this idea that YA books are the only ones with OwnVoices or diverse casts, YA has shifted from being a group of books for teens to a group of books for...marginalized adults. In other words, YA seems to have been coopted by adult women, largely white LGBT adults. Some of that is reacting to how historically YA has been put down culturally, dismissed as being for teen girls the way The Beatles used to be, and showing that YA is important and perfectly fine.

YA is also not the only thing there is. Adult lit isn't just literary fiction; it's not all Daniel Ortberg's How Many Male Novelists routine. It has as many genres as YA does. Reducing all adult lit to one cliche about the literary canon is the same energy as people who think YA is just love triangles.

As many problems as adult lit has, so does YA.

The Black Witch? The Continent? Carve the Mark? Wicked Saints? Nevernight? The Thousandth Floor? All YA books, and all wildly racist, antisemitic, or Bury Your Gays. The problem is systemic, not with Adult versus Young Adult.

Just off the top of my head, some marginalized writers in SFF and adult literary: Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Samatha Shannon, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Sarah Gailey, Rin Chupeco. I have an awful memory, especially for books and authors, but I know that even the books going back to the 70s or 80s have included LGBT characters; Silvia is writing as a Mexican woman about Mexican stories. They're not always the best portrayals of LGBT characters (McCaffrey's take on bisexuality is very Not Great), but they exist.

Part of the problem is also assuming that every book that contains diverse characters is YA because of those characters. Regardless of the themes or the maturity levels of the characters, any book with LGBT characters or written by a marginalized author is considered YA. And that becomes tricky because on one hand, it "reduces" the work to YA--to an issue book like the Tweet above says--and on the other, it adds more evidence that YA is the only place to get diverse reads. And YA isn't lesser than adult books, but let's also not ignore the reputation it has, even now; YA authors are seen as catty and petty and toxic, and the books are seen as formulaic, and they're treated as cash cows for Hollywood to milk. They're seen as soulless.

Or they're seen as the saving grace of people looking for themselves in books, regardless of their ages. I'm not going to stagnate my reading because people want to justify their enjoyment of YA.

Future of My Writing Age Groups

And similarly, I don't know if I discussed this on my branded accounts or whatever, but I'm moving away from YA myself. The pressure to be on-trend and to meet demand is too much for me, a mentally ill bear. And the pressure to have a social media presence is too much. And I want to not worry so much about what's appropriate for teenagers when I'm writing. (altho I can very much make the argument that because some of that trauma was happening to me as a teenager, it's all appropriate for teenagers, so idk.)

So the books that I originally planned to pitch as YA are just adult. Adult werewolves, dragon nerds, and BCB are adult.

Blood Cult Boogie Break

I think I dreamed I announced this already, but I obviously did not. But I think I need to put BCB down for a while to work on another WIP. I've been working on it for almost 10 years now and it has too much pressure to perform. When I submit my short stories, it doesn't matter because they're not a big deal. But BCB is My First Novel, the first one I finished, the one with some of the oldest characters, the one that's gotten the most work. But I keep freezing up when it comes to working on it because the pressure to succeed with it hits my depression/perfectionism and all the mental illness. So I don't know how long she'll wait.

But you know, like, I wrote half of a draft of Draconologist and I had thousands of words in Silver Bullets without ever letting myself feel accomplished. Because BCB wasn't finished. So hopefully removing the pressure will let me work on her more as I work on the others.

The Vax

I'm fully vaccinated. :V I still have left the house only like once. Lmao.

Dayjob & Creative Work

Unfortunately, capitalism persists. And my dayjob has been incredibly taxing emotionally and wrt spoons. Like, I take psychic damage from some of these edits. So I really haven't been able to work on writing, but I have started re-planning Silver Bullets. So that's hopefully something I'll be able to get through around the dayjob.

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