The YA Handbook (Part Two)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Read part one of The YA Handbook!

Rule Six: Make a love triangle including two guys who used to be friends but broke the bromance in mysterious circumstances:
As Seen In: Soul Screamers, The Iron Fey, Matched, Fallen, Vampire Diaries...
How about we dump Elena and try third
 time lucky?
A love triangle just isn't enough for some authors, no they have to put history between the two guys
who're in love with the girl. Whether they are hated brothers, ex best friends or even the metaphorical depiction's of Good and Evil they have to have HISTORY.
Why do they do it? How else can the author slowly reveal why the two guys fell out? Ironically it's usually because they fell in love with the same girl a few years before (or hundred years if they're vampires). Imagine how thin the books would be without all the back stories?
This one was recommended by Elisa at Lost Inside the Covers.

Rule Seven: Give the heroine red hair:
As Seen In: The Mortal Instruments, Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Forgotten, Entangled, Imaginary Girls... 
Redder, Redder, Perfect
Brunettes are so last century, we have all of the classic heroines with brown hair; Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet etc. So authors, wanting to stand out from the crowd have decided to go with the less common red hair. Unfortunately for them loads of authors have had this idea so red heads are way more common in fiction than even in real life.
Why do they do it? Nowadays hair colors are associated with personalities. Blondes are considered stupid and ditsy - no offence blondes and brunettes, plain and boring - no offense brunettes. Red heads on the other hand are thought of as feisty and tough which is what authors strive for.

Rule Eight: Give the main character an name with an unusual spelling:
As Seen In: Shatter Me, The Chemical Gardens, The Iron Fey, Matched... 
Even the most uncommon names are becoming more common in YA lit. One way to set your character aside from the rest is to have an inventive name but some authors have found a way around that. Inventive spellings! Juliet becomes Juliette, Megan becomes Meghan, Kai becomes Ky.
Why do they do it? It could be that they want  to use a traditional name without it being boring, or maybe they just prefer the names written that way. Either way, the names will be either genius or irritating and its a thin line between.

Rule Nine: Make the main character constantly compare them self to their beautiful, confident best friend:
You think she's cuter than me
don't you? DON'T YOU???
As Seen In: Twenty Boy Summer, Gemma Doyle, Soul Screamers, Delirium...
No one likes a cocky heroine but at the same time no one likes an attention seeking one who constantly notes her plain or ugly appearance. It's even worse when they go on about their friends beauty with barely concealed bitterness and jealousy. This kind of heroine is the type that spends ten pages at a time wondering why the love interest likes them and not the friend. It's just plain annoying.
Why do they do it? They are probably trying to make the heroine seem retiring and humble and avoiding the whole too confident, 'I know I'm gorgeous' personality - sadly Charlaine Harris didn't get that memo.

Rule Ten: Start the series with the character going to school then nearly never attend again with no consequences: 
Who wouldn't want to go here?
As Seen In: Twilight, Morganville, Legend, Hush Hush, The Iron Fey, Nightshade...
When you are going to write a book about a teenage character the audience is going to presume they're at school. Some books can get away with the characters never going to school but others start the series with them at school and slowly fade it out. For all we know they may just graduate without mentioning it but that's unlikely.
Why do they do it? The problem with school is it restricts the adventures they go on to holidays and weekends and that's just not good enough. The characters need to be free to save the world any time they want and school doesn't fit into that. The school boards don't seem to care so who are we to argue?

3 People dared to comment.:

Anonymous said...

Man, I love this, you speak truth! Cracks me up. Fantastic post.

There are SO MANY character redheads nowadays. They never really mention any pale skin and freckles either...

Rita Webb said...

Love this list! I'm on my way to go read Part One.

P.K. Gallagher said...

Funniest thing I've read all day.

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