Saturday, November 26, 2011

The problem with (bad) adult fiction

My father is a voracious reader and I grew up in a household where stacks of books on open surfaces were considered decorator chic.  His taste runs toward history, mystery, and science-fiction.  Occasionally, when I'm visiting, I'll read one of his books.

This trip home he gave me a sci-fi novel - post apocalyptic that is set at the moment the "change" occurs, when all technology as we know it disappears.  Since there are some similarities to my Upper MG novel being shopped, I thought, "hmmm, this might be an interesting read."

I got exactly to the bottom third of the first page when I realized I could never stomach the book.  I will paraphrase what I read.

"He pulled his car into the parking lot, locked up, and swung his case over his shoulder."
"He walked quickly to the door and opened it with his third finger, a nudge, and a grunt."
"He opened his jacket and stuffed his cap into it."
"He smoothed his hair down with his hand."

OMG - What in monkey scratch land is going to happen?  By the bottom of the first page in any MG or YA book, I have a hint of the conflict, both internal and external.  I usually have a bit of information about the protagonist.  I have voice.  And I don't have to contemplate any freaking navels to get there or read jacket flap to figure it out.

So there my friends is why I love YA and MG fiction.  It makes me want to turn the page.  Why do you love youth fiction?


  1. That's not just bad adult fiction, it's bad period. I read primarily adult fiction, thrillers mostly, and they do all those things you list in the first 500 words. If they didn't, I'd toss the book, too. It's amazing what used to get published. It's even amazing what sometimes gets published now. But it's usually only the previously published author who can get away with writing crap like that.

  2. I know, I was shocked and sort of disappointed because I really was interested in the book. But I knew there was no way my inner critic would be able to get into the story.

  3. Oh wow, that does sound pretty bad! I've certainly come across a few books like that, and always wonder how they get away with it. Certainly makes me appreciate the good stuff out there though!


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