Amazon’s recent novel-writing contest accepted “only” 5000 entries. Imagine! Five-thousand people have written full-length novels they hope to have published. Many more than 5000 did not enter the contest. All these voices yearning to be heard! All these men and women spending untold hours typing away on their computers far into the night and early in the morning, squeezing creative time into the corners of their busy days. See the list of entries now pared to 2000 at
In the Young Adult category, the 1000 chosen to go on to the second round were mostly written by women, whereas in the General Fiction category, the split was more even. With women writing them, YA books are geared more toward girls than boys. Look through any book store and you’ll see the evidence – romance and fantasy for girls fill the YA shelves. Could it be that girls are reading while the boys play video games?
Here are some titles, chosen at random, that made the 1000 YA cut – Black Myst, The Waters of Nyra, Light Dancer, Into the Hourglass. They look like fantasy to me. Probably others deal with teenage angst, boyfriends, and girl jealousy. But they steer clear of graphic sex scenes, brutality toward women, and things like that which drive most adult fiction, especially that written by men. Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
This may be why women write YA novels. We want to write and read about strong, independent, free-thinking girls who will become positive contributors to society after they go through all the scenes that the novelist throws at them. (The too-popular Twilight series negates this argument, making some of us cringe at the implications of it.)
After my initial minor disappointment at not making the cut (The Amulet is historical fiction about a girl in the Roman empire, definitely not a winning subject), I went for a walk in my desert and found that I was absolutely glowing with joy knowing that thousands of women have been writing their books, just like I have, with no promise at all of ever reaching the millions of readers we dream about!
What oddly magnificent women we are! Creative dreamers! Not just dreamers, but dreamers who bring to pass the actuality of the dream! Days, weeks, months after the dream begins, we find that the end has come. We have written a staggering number of words, weaving them into a story that’s never been told by anyone in the whole history of the world!
For this achievement, no matter what the future of our stories is, we deserve exclamation points!!!!