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Schrijftip 17: Vermijd deze YA karakters

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Zeker met de enorme hoeveelheid aan nieuwe Young Adult boeken die op dit moment de boekenmarkt overstromen, is het belangrijker dan ooit om als schrijver ervoor te zorgen dat jouw verhaal erbovenuit springt.

Hoe je dat doet? Teen-writer Jamie S. Margolin heeft een artikel geschreven voor Writers Digest, waarin ze de belangrijkste karakters om te vermijden omschrijft. 99% van YA-verhalen bevat 1 of meerdere van deze - waardoor je, als je hen maar vermijdt, gegarandeerd opvalt.

1. "OMG" Teen

"Awkward slang that’s LOL. OMG girl! That’s like, totally LOL!

Someone get me an oxygen tank. In attempts to “relate” to teens, countless writers have turned to using slang. And it’s driving us crazy! Why? Well first of all, teens don’t speak in slang. We might text a “LOL” here and there, but most of us don’t talk like that. The small handfuls who do are usually desperate outcasts.

Secondly, adults are clueless when it comes to teen-speak. When they try to use slang in their books, it ends up sounding forced, awkward, and just plain old wrong. And then publishers also have no clue that we don’t say, “It’s totally LOL”, so ends up in the book…. ready to drive teens up the wall."

2. "Love-At-First-Sight" Teen

"This should be legally banned. Love at first sight is in 99.9% of all romance novels that have ever existed (I made this statistic up to make my point). It usually goes like this: Character #1 is walking down the hallway and bumps into Character #2.  They’re total strangers but when their eyes meet, they know they’ve found their “other half” and future soul mate….

This usually results in the reader chucking the book across the room."

3. "Troubled" Teen

"Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against troubled characters. Everyone loves S. E. Hinton’s classic troubled kid, “Ponyboy”. He’s a 14-year-old boy in 1965 who’s addicted to tobacco, caught in between gang violence, and has a dysfunctional family. Yet he’s also caring and has passion for sunsets. Troubled, but lovable.

But nowadays, the whole “troubled” factor has been taken above and beyond. Writers are suddenly making it their mission to create exaggeratedly dark, haunted, and psychopathic characters that no one except psychopaths like. Half of the time, I find myself hating the protagonist and wanting them to fail and die. I don’t think that is what the author wants. Writers have to realize that there’s a fine line between a character who’s flawed but likable, and one who has no personality or thoughts other than “I hate everyone, life sucks.”"

4. "Stereotype" Teen

"Sorry to break it to you, but people don’t fit into neat little boxed categories. Characters shouldn’t either. But it happens all the time! So many minority characters in books do absolutely nothing but fit in their stereotype. If the character’s black, they spend most of their time “dealing with racism.” If a character’s gay, then he’s feminine, and obsessed with fashion.

Unless you want to face an army of ticked-off teens, I’d advise digging past the stereotypes."

5. "Strong, Independent Female" Teen

"This character is your typical pretty girl. But don’t let that fool you, because she’s tough stuff, and can kick butt. Oh how I hate this protagonist. In attempts to make “strong” female characters, writers craft these exaggerated tough and emotionless protagonists that no one but the writer can stand.

I don’t understand why authors bother making such characters in the first place. Any female can be strong. Not just obnoxious, overly macho ones. And usually, this “strong” female character becomes a damsel in distress as soon as Mr. Six-pack comes along."

6. "Happy-Ever-After" Teen

"I couldn’t resist this perfect quote from my friend Ben.

“I’d like to see a more mediocre ending in books. It’d be nice to see a book where everything doesn’t work out perfectly in the end. Where the protagonist fails, and the world doesn’t get saved and everyone dies happily ever after.”

Now I’m in no way suggesting that every author should always craft the most devastating, horrific ending ever. I’m fine with books ending badly or happily, just not so  perfectly. The thing is, I’m never worried for protagonists anymore, because I already know that at the very last moment everything’s going to work out in the most convenient way. So why even bother reading the book?"



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