Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I've always liked Young Adult novels but now I'm reading even more just to learn from them. I'm reading supernatural thrillers to learn how to give the dream sequences in my novel a mysterious feeling and I'm looking at contemporary chic lit to know how to handle teen relationships. I'm constantly thinking about how other authors handle character's voice, plot, dialogue, setting, etc.

A perfect example of great character voice is The Help. I know it's not considered a YA novel, but it does have a broad appeal. The author makes each character shine and it's obvious by the dialogue, who's speaking.

Beautiful Creatures and Wicked Lovely give wonderful details, putting you in a world where the impossible is possible. I especially love when an author can do this with ease, giving me something to strive for. I love the Harry Potter series for the interesting interwoven subplots and wonderful characters.

I'm also finding some books that I believe are not worth publishing, one of which is totally disappointing because it's about a boy who doesn't know he's an angel, at least that's what I think it's about; I didn't get far before putting it down. The main character doesn't seem genuine and the dialogue is very awkward at times. I hate to say it, but it makes me feel good when I read a book I dislike, because I know I can do better. Is that wrong? I think I can almost learn more in seeing what not to do. It's also amusing to me to find typos in books; misspellings make me jump and say "Aha!". In Beautiful Creatures the author references a Victorian house that was built before or early in the Civil War, but the Victorian era really wasn't until after the war. I guess I'm discovering the importance of watching the details and being thirow. Oops! Spell check, I still have a lot to learn.


  1. funny Ellen! i know what you mean--sometimes you find a book and think "how did THIS get published?" and you're simultaneously annoyed yet pleased because you know the stuff you write is better!

  2. Yes I agree with you and Trager. I love running into bad books. That means there's hope for me.