- Not giving us any reason to empathise with characters. Okay, so this will vary from reader to reader. Some people will probably be okay with an extremely exciting and action-packed plot!! Like OMG exploding stuff!! Guns!! Spies!! But for me - and I think a lot of teen readers - believable characters who I can relate to are a must (obviously there are exceptions to this rule...).
- Nothing actually happens. Teenagers at the younger end of the spectrum aren't really going to be interested in a whole lot of intellectual rubbish. Adults will read that sort of stuff and talk about it with their friends at dinner parties and go, Oh! How smart I am to understand all that subtext and hidden meaning! But teenagers don't have time for your pseudo-intellectual time-wasting. I don't, I mean. And I speak for all teenagers! Every single one!
- It's all about a great big MORAL. You can have morals and meaning and a lesson behind your book. You really can. But a novel that is only a flimsy story constructed to back up a lesson that you want to teach the youth is usually very boring, and you won't end up getting your point across at all. You have to be subtle. Remember: story first. And characters. See point 1.
- Focusing on adult characters in a YA novel. I'm not saying teenagers are incapable of enjoying or understanding a novel with adult protagonists, but generally when a teenager picks up a YA novel they want a story they can relate to in some way. The experiences of adult characters are just so... grown-up. All responsibility and boring stuff. See point 1. Again. Even though you have already.
- Unoriginality. So, this isn't going to apply to all teenagers. Some teenagers I know want to read books that are as similar to Twilight as possible. But I like to think that the majority of teenaged readers enjoy original novels, stories they haven't heard before, things that surprise and entertain and [insert another synonym of surprise/entertain here, something like confound...]. The same old rehashed plot is boring.
5 Ways To Bore A Teenaged Reader
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Labels: writing advice