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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games for Authors

Hmmm...young adult his hot right now. Very hot. If you can write a YA novel that gets on board the Hunger Game juggernaut then you are set. The problem of course is that young adult novels were dead for a very long time until they wern't. The genre became inflamed with Harry Potter and it has been a red hot hand for YA authors ever since. You think writing a YA novel would be easier than writing an adult one but this is not true. Walking the line between what entices teens and adults is a strange blend of writing for different worlds.

You take the old books like Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird. Adult YA I would call them. Take Harry Potter. YA that adults can read too. The problem is that if you read YA novels a lot of them just aren't that good. They are written down for kids and read like army manuals. Many of these books are series if not all of them and they get progressively worse. So why is it that something like Hunger Games would catch? Well, kid gladiators. High concept plot maybe. Or just that strange weird thing called mystical kid appeal.

You cannot write for this market and not be in it. You have to live through your character and so you must find a portal into the young adult world. My first novel was YA but it was more traditional and did not ignite the minds of young adults the way later mystical dystopia novels would. Harry Potter books are wizards and magic and well written for their genre. To take aim at this market with the intent to make money brings on failure and disaster. You simply can't slot a book, though many try.

And so we watch over the fence as Hunger Games tears up the book selling world and now with the smash movie. Hey man. More power to that author. You never know what is going to hit and you never will.

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Books by William Hazelgrove