Sunday, February 22, 2009

{ 11 } Only Kind of Slacking...

I was gently reminded today that writers write (my own words). True, I have not blogged in a bit, but I have still been writing. My crazy night job has had me on the road or working really odd hours for awhile and I've either not had access to a computer or have been so beat tired I didn't feel like blogging.

Okay, enough with the excuses. Let me fill you in on what I have been doing...

First, I decided to start a crime novel. I needed something to get my mind off of HOS and all of its research. This new project, working title MD, is proving to be a lot more difficult them first imagined. It's not research intensive, thank goodness, but trying to write a plot that's not transparent as water is a challenge. Thus far, I'm just missing one key ingredient and then it's write time. Should be too hard (famous last words).

Second, I started thinking again about J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer. Not so much their "I just had this idea..." stuff, but look at what they wrote: tween/young adult (YA) novels. A quick check of best selling books last week has Meyer's taking four out of five top places and, as far as best selling books of all time, the Harry Potter books take six out of the top twenty one spots. Why? Harry Potter is obvious: great plot, great characters, amazing franchise. I have not read any of Meyer's books (they are on reserve for me when they come back to the library), but I have heard they lack substance or deep characters. So why the huge success?

I have my own opinions, but not having read the books, I can't really say. What I can report is what others have said: all the characters are perfect, it's sexual without sex, Edward is HAWT (gross, IMHO), Edward is a hollow shell so girls can fit his "personality" to what they want, et cetera.

What I think this series and others in the YA genre break down to is simple: YA girls want romance and they want to get away with reading sexual books. How many of you sneaked a peek at your mom's copy of Fear of Flying or read and reread the "taboo" parts of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.? I think the sexual non-sex of Meyer's books appeals to young girls and their parents. Spicy but not too hot.

I also think this particular series is so popular is because teenagers are sheep. Wait, that came out kind of mean... But still: it's great to be popular and if reading these books and loving them makes you popular (or at least gives the illusion), all the better. Not that that's a bad thing. If kids are reading, I'll get behind any book. Think for a minute about Fear of Flying and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. How did we ever find these books before the invention of the Internet? I can assure you no teacher in their right mind was recommending them to my generation, what with all the censorship going on in the '80s. More then likely we heard they were "naughty" and just had to read them. But in this decade, one blogger can write a review or one girl can post a MySpace "I Love TWILIGHT!" message and it's an international sensation. Easy peezy.

Okay, that's enough Meyers/teenager bashing for now. In my next post (which will be soon) I'll share with you what I wrote (on actual paper!) about what I think YAs want and the challenges I'm going to face if I decide to write for the Me Generation, which is looking like a very strong possibility.

Now if those damn little girls would just return their copies of Twilight to the library...