This week The Broke and the Bookish have us hopping in the wayback machine to pick a Top Ten Tuesday topic that we missed, or just want a second crack at. I’ve settled on
Top Ten Literary Trends You Want to See More/Less Of:
I’d like to see more
1. Re-imagined/updated/urbanized fairy tales and myths. I just love them, and I always have. I believe those stories have endured because they strike at certain universal hopes, fears, or experiences. I’d particularly like to see more from outside European cultures. Africa, Asia, and the Native American tribes have extensive mythologies unfamiliar to most Western audiences. I just read a fantastic YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic rooted in Pacific Northwest Native American myth and spirituality, Shadows Cast by Stars, and I would love to read more novels like it.
2. Capable, imperfect heroines. Girls and women to root for and empathize with, like broken-souled survivor Katniss Everdeen or the prickly but determined Puck Connolly.
3. Dystopian fiction. I have loved it since the fourth grade, when I read about the homogenous society the Murrys encounter in A Wrinkle In Time.
4. Survivalism. This crops up a lot in dystopians and post-apocalyptic novels, and between The Hunger Games and the zombie craze it has been a good few years for folks who like to think “how would I do if the world ended tomorrow?”. I am one of those folks, I have whiled away many an hour formulating survival strategies for various scenarios.
5. Awesome covers. Even though they sometimes tip me over into reading something I would not normally choose, I really appreciate the beautiful range in graphic design I’ve seen on YA covers the past few years. Even though The Selection completely sucked as a novel, I still enjoy gazing upon that pretty cover.
1. Blandly perfect “bad boy” love interests. I’d rather have a deeply flawed, weird-looking, socially awkward love interest than Ned Nickerson dressed as James Dean. More Cricket Bell, less Edward Cullen!
2. Rapes used as shock tactic. It seems like in a lot of adult genre fiction, rape is resorted to when the author doesn’t really know where to take the story or how to add depth to a female character. A woman can be challenged, emotionally broken even, without the violation of her person. This kind of writing immediately turns me off of a story or novel (sometimes for good, as in the case of The Windup Girl). Rape happens, and I have read several very good novels that incorporate it into their plot (Speak and The Lovely Bones come to mind), but it should not be deployed as though the writer spun a big wheel o’ plot devices and they landed on the wedge between murder and drug abuse.
3. “Classic Novel and Supernatural Creature” rewrites. A really obvious and odious cash grab. I still can’t believe that a film version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was optioned. Write your own darn book.
4. Sequels “inspired by” Pride and Prejudice. We GET IT. You wish you could swan around the English countryside in long dresses attending balls and tossing off sassy quips like Lizzie Bennett. You have the mad hots for Fitzwilliam Darcy and his frock coats. That is no excuse to co-opt a dead author’s very concise work in order to churn out installment after installment of soapy fan-fiction. The original struck a chord because Austen was actually a part of that society, she wrote what she knew.
5. Abuse of The Hunger Games. Not every dystopian is like that series, and it ranges from irritating to downright insulting when every publisher touts their latest release as something “for fans of The Hunger Games”. If that’s the only selling point the marketing team can muster for a novel, perhaps you should have published something else.