Special Article Written by Yours Truly–Diversity in Fantasy

I was invited to write an article on diversity in fantasy for Forever Young Adult. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Here’s the first bit. Click on to read the whole thing.

Exploring the Unknown: Diverse Settings and Folklore in YA

Sometimes it seems that current YA is drowning in a sea of cookie cutter folklore. Vampires and werewolves and zombies, oh my! And when I’ve spoken on panels at conferences about how to come up with ideas for novels, a question I get time and time again boils down to, “How do I make my (vampires/werewolves/zombies) unique?”

And I always answer the same way: “Use something new.”

When I say that, I don’t mean that you should make your vampires shiny or sparkly. I mean that there’s so much more folklore out there to draw upon. Why stay stuck in the rut of western Europe? I love me some Brothers Grimm as much as the next guy, and you have to give props to that Hans Christian Andersen fellow, but there’s so much more folklore to be explored.

One of the problems seems to be that as soon as you say “something other than western European,” people jump ship to other tried and true milieus. Chinese and Japanese. Greek and Roman. Maybe some Egyptian. Pyramids are cool, right?

I was in the same boat. I thought that if it wasn’t something I’d heard about growing up, then it wasn’t “folklore.” Somehow I’d made the assumption that folklore was this big shared pool of common knowledge. Anything anyone had to contribute would be something I would have been exposed to through Disney, right?


My eyes were opened when [READ THE REST]

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