I consider myself a pretty smart person. I’m well-educated. I went to the top high school in my state. I have a Bachelor of Science degree. I like to read really long, really complicated books, like the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (also known as Game of Thrones). I do enjoy what I consider to be “light” books as well, stories that are easy to read and understand and I can go through quickly. Many of these kinds of stories are classified as “young adult”, things like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. But I never wanted to write them.
To me, my “light” reading is a guilty pleasure. I know I’m capable of more than that. I come home from the library with books four inches thick and my husband just stares at me. I like big, epic fantasies, with storylines that make me think and remember, that are so convoluted that I sometimes struggle to keep them straight.
When I formally began this writing journey, I wanted to write stories with impressive, complicated storylines. Because I believe I can, and so I should. It’s the “go big or go home” mindset. And I tried. I threw myself into my fantasy project, and I had big plans for it. I may still go back, I haven’t made any plans to abandon it, but for so many reasons it just isn’t working for me right now. What is working for me is writing a “lighter” young adult story.
And I’m loving it. I didn’t expect to love it this much. Both of the major projects I’ve worked on before were grueling, taking months upon months, with breaks and give-ups and busting my butt just to put down a thousand words. But, as I’ve mentioned before, my young adult project is flying by. And it’s changing how I feel about the whole process.
I don’t know if this story will be a success, or if I’ll even capture an agent’s attention with it. But I love the story, nonetheless. And, as I write it, it doesn’t feel “light”. If it turns out that way, that’s fine, because I’ll know I put my best effort into it and it’s something I can be proud of. I do have plans to expand it into a trilogy, which is cool and very hip right now. I also have a new idea, which I’m trying not to think about until this project is finished, but it seems to have a young adult slant too.
I may never write an epic fantasy. I may discover that my niche is in young adult, and have a successful career there. And that’s okay. A story doesn’t have to be long and complicated to be good.