Writing YA Fantasy Without A “Bad Guy” by Alyssa Brandon & Bound to You Giveaway

Bound to You
by Alyssa Brandon
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 10th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

A stubborn teen faces off with her brooding, indifferent (but super hot) soulmate in this unique and sexy take on a classic paranormal romance story.
She’s met her mate . . . and he’s met his match.
Megan Ross has been waiting her whole life for her mate to come and sweep her off her feet. But the wolf she meets on the beach is NOT the sweet gentle boy she’s been dreaming of. Instead, he’s a warrior, one whose suffering has led him to lock his heart away in a prison as cold and hard as a diamond, who fights to resist the bond and their deep attraction.
Far from home, with a soulmate who is still a stranger, Megan learns that the path to true love isn’t quite as straight and easy as she thought . . .
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Alyssa Brandon’s debut novel Bound to You is guaranteed to make readers swoon, sigh, and maybe even cry before it’s over.

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Guest POst: Writing YA Fantasy Without A “Bad Guy”

by Alyssa Brandon

Most YA Fantasy / Sci Fi novels have an exterior threat. A bad guy. For Harry Potter there is Voldemort, in Twilight evil vampire James and the Hunger Games the other Tributes (and Snow later on). There is someone that the main character is in a life or death conflict with and have to defeat. Most books and movie, especially in fantasy and in media for kids and young adults, have this.

This is a great way to make your characters team-up and tests them to see what they are made of and what they’re willing to sacrifice (and not) to win. It’s also interesting for the audience to figure out who the bad guy is and how your heroes will find and defeat him/her. Overall having a bad guy is a really good move for most fantasy books.

But my novel BOUND TO YOU doesn’t have that external “baddie” even though since it is about werewolves it’s definitely a fantasy novel. There is an external threat in the form of the evil wraiths, which works in a somewhat similar fashion, but there is no one character that leads them. Not the one evil antagonist character that Megan or James can beat to end the conflict.

During the many drafts the book went through, there was at a few points talks and attempts to add an actual antagonist to the mix. Because of all of the above reasons. Because I felt like something else that would push or drive the characters either together or apart would be useful.

But in the end, both my editor and I decided against it. And it wasn’t until later I realized that we absolutely 100% made the right call. How did I know? Well, mainly because the internal problem the heroine faces (why her mate is so distant to her) is a ‘unfocused’ problem. There isn’t one thing but several factors and it takes time both for James himself and Megan to even become aware of them. Since an external “threat” works best when it’s a reflection of an internal one, it makes sense that there isn’t one “bad guy” in Bound To You but a group of shadowy dementor like ones that she can’t fight on her own. So in that sense my internal and external conflict match.

Another reason is genre. Bound To You is a paranormal romance, with focus on the romance. And romance novels are far less likely to end with a final showdown between good and evil. Romance novels are about people; about falling in love. They’re about the main characters and them figuring their relationship out, rather than saving the world.

Which is why Bound To You doesn’t need the evil character to fight against. Because in a romantic relationship there is (hopefully) no evil character that needs to be defeated. The mystery and tension come from not if they will triumph against an antagonist but rather from the why James seems to hate Megan and if they in the end will be able to face their internal demons to move forward and then how their relationship will turn out.

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Author Bio:

Alyssa Brandon is a recent college graduate from Sweden who enjoys reading, doing yoga, puzzles, and, of course, writing. Bound to You is her debut novel.

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