These have been floating around, being done by bloggers way more articulate than I, but they have given me so much to think about, I put pen to paper. So to speak.
But before I get to that: I am happily enjoying the crime stories, in whatever genre catches my eye be it YA, or chick lit, or whatever, but it’s my thing. Is that bad? I feel guilty sometimes for not reading too far out of crime or thriller wheelhouse. Is that bad?
So that’s been percolating in the back of my mind too. But so has the following:
I absolutely need more of this:
Strong female characters
I was reading a blog post recently about how strength is defined in different ways, and not just in the physicality of a character. Most often I know I drift to that, but it’s not entirely the most apt description. Case in point, a character in Children of Blood and Bone that interests me far more than the badass girl that made it onto the blurb.
Strength is absolutely in the female characters that overcome all odds, and those that are physically badass. But, there’s strength too in fighting personal demons, or staying true to yourself, or standing up for yourself or someone else.
Excellent characterisation and plotting
I feel like this is a given, but there are more than a couple of books this past year which trumpeted their twists and failed in general characterisation and plotting.
I get that a twist can make a book soar in the charts, but a twist in the end of a story can’t carry a book on its own. You need tons of these two as well.
More books that reflect what’s happening in the world today
YA is excelling in this recently. I wish it would get so much more credit than the genre is generally given.
And I definitely need less of this:
This book is 4 years old now, and while the movie was popular, it’s time to stop plastering on every book with a unreliable female narrator “If you liked Gone Girl’. There have been plenty of books since that are just as good and if not better.
I get that the movie, and the publicity for this book pushed it into our collective consciousness and made it into a definition of a genre, but are readers as lazy as publishers think them to be? We aren’t supposed to judge books by their cover, but it’s okay to judge it by a comparison to a book that was published 3-4 years ago?
I dunno. I get that it’s aimed for someone ducking into a book shop and wanting something to read and a line like that will probably get their attention, but there’s a point where you have to give even those casual readers some credit for knowing what they want, and it might not be another Gone Girl clone?
Sometimes it feels like every book in the crime/mystery/thriller genre has a twist. It’s on the back cover blurb, it’s on the front cover and probably on an ad somewhere. I find though the books with the best twists are the ones that don’t need to keep mentioning it on every bit they can.
Twists are great, but in a genre where most books claim to have the best twist ever, it’s probably better if your characterisation is excellent, your plotting superb so much so that a twist is something you don’t need.
Alcoholism, drug addiction… if you write it, write it well
Do female – or male — characters need to be alcoholics (not that an author wants to admit that), or recovering from something horrible to be able to be an effective character?
In the same vein, if a character is drinks to the point they’re blacking out, odds are good in any other circumstance they would be called an alcoholic. Writing them going cold turkey as a way of dealing with their drinking, to me, is using alcoholism for a plot point, and then getting rid of it when you’re done.
If your character is doing drugs, drinking write them as such, along with all the stuff that goes with it. It’d actually make for a better character, I think.
Articles on YA wondering why adults read YA
I think I would like not to see an article wondering why adults read YA, or discussing a reason for it, which somehow makes the adults in question seem childish and the YA not worth ‘serious’ readers time. Adults read YA, they have for a while now. These are books that delve into rape, racism, Islamaphobia, mental illness and depression — and so much more.
And that’s it! What are you in need of your 2018 reading??