I would normally reblog this terrific post by the ubertalented Cindy Pon, but the WordPress Reblog Button is busted (Fix the button, please, WordPress.). Anyway, lots of wisdom in this post, especially if you don your reading-between-the-lines spectacles.
When Cindy Pon turned in her Big Idea for her novel Serpentine, she had titled it “A Guide to Writing Non-Commercial YA Fantasy,” with the notation “Maybe the titles of this post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely.” Why would she think that? Read on for the explanation.
When I was pitching my debut novel, Silver Phoenix in 2008, one of the first editors I met at a local conference read twelve pages and said two things that stuck with me. First: This reads like Crouching, Tiger crossed with The Joy Luck Club. Why is it fantasy? Second: Asian fantasy doesn’t sell.
My internal thought to the first was: But doesn’t Crouching, Tiger have fantastical elements? And why is he saying it like this is a bad thing? My thought to the second was: Oh.
I immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when I was six years old, which means I learned English as a second language. I remember vividly my first grade teacher having to write my name onto the chalkboard because I didn’t know the alphabet. I remember staying home to work on my English while I watched the neighborhood kids play outside. So, when sometime in the third grade I began reading–and reading a lot–it seemed as if magical worlds had been opened to me. I had worked so hard to gain access to these story treasures!
Source: The Big Idea: Cindy Pon