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YA and MG have ruined me...

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Reader, Writer, Teacher, Wife & Mother
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Rebecca, you made me laugh with Valuable Life Lessons. By the way, your books are amazing. Not at all formulaic. A great delight.
Vijaya
#31 - August 18, 2013, 07:44 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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I just got back from vacation and read through this thread. Maybe I vacationed too much, because I think everybody's right. Perhaps I didn't pick up the right adult books (I'll have to try French), and yes, there is some mediocre MG and YA out there, and yes, sometimes the lessons that 'aren't really there' get tiresome to see over and over. But it does seem, for the most part (always exceptions, of course), that MG and YA are more tightly edited. Maybe it's a more competitive market than adult books.

But at least I have some companions in the younger aisles.
#32 - August 19, 2013, 07:15 AM

JFriday, I agree with you.  Although I find if I want a good-could-be-an-adult-read I pick up what's on the Newbery list (also known in some parts as the eat-your-broccoli list.) Most excellent writing there.  :)
#33 - August 20, 2013, 06:30 AM
Ghosts In the Night - Mackin 2019
Minnie's Green Book - HMH 2015
Mossy Marsha - Amazon
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My personal opinion is that books for kids (YA, MG, PB) have to be more tightly edited than books for adults, because if you don't catch a kid's attention immediately and keep it on every page, he'll have no qualms about putting the book down and reaching for the next one. Adults will keep reading because they've already invested time (and possibly money) into the book, and so they feel like they're supposed to. Also, as a general rule, adults are more likely to keep reading with the hope that it will get better - especially if they've heard good things about a book or an author. Every kid I know (even my own kids who read like crazy) will drop a book the second they lose interest, and then they won't trust any more recommendations from whoever said it was a good book.
#34 - August 20, 2013, 07:13 AM

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Every kid I know (even my own kids who read like crazy) will drop a book the second they lose interest

I must be an outlier (or a contrarian...) here, because as a kid, if I started a book I HAD to finish it.  Now if it doesn't get me pretty quickly, I close it and move on. Too many books in my want-to-read pile. I was in my early twenties before I allowed myself not to finish a book...
#35 - August 20, 2013, 07:50 AM
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I must be an outlier (or a contrarian...) here, because as a kid, if I started a book I HAD to finish it.

I was the same way. But as a busy adult? You have about ten pages to hook me (I mean that subjectively to taste, not just a clever fishhook of a line)--sometimes less if I'm thumbing at the bookstore. If I get that far, I'll probably read the whole thing. It's pretty darn rare for me to bail on a book in the middle.
#36 - August 20, 2013, 08:12 AM
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 08:13 AM by Aimee W. »
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My personal opinion is that books for kids (YA, MG, PB) have to be more tightly edited than books for adults, because if you don't catch a kid's attention immediately and keep it on every page, he'll have no qualms about putting the book down and reaching for the next one. Adults will keep reading because they've already invested time (and possibly money) into the book, and so they feel like they're supposed to. Also, as a general rule, adults are more likely to keep reading with the hope that it will get better - especially if they've heard good things about a book or an author. Every kid I know (even my own kids who read like crazy) will drop a book the second they lose interest, and then they won't trust any more recommendations from whoever said it was a good book.

I agree with Veronica.  Children will lose interest and put books down.  I use the power of choice in my classroom.  If there is a book I really want my students to read, my strategy is I pick two books and let them choose a book.  My students love the fact that they have choices, but I manipulate them in getting what I want.  I want them to read, and I will try anything. 

I grew up in a house where I could not put a book down just because.  And I hate to admit it, I have read some horrible books.  I want children to enjoy reading.  So what if they lose interest in one book, as long as they pick up another, it's okay.
#37 - August 20, 2013, 10:56 AM

Veronica

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When I was a kid, I would push through to finish books too. But I'm not talking about me as a kid. I'm talking about all of the kids I know now. I'm constantly shocked to see how easily they put something down and walk away (even if they're 3/4 of the way through), and the reason they always give for it: "It got boring." We're not just competing with other books anymore. We're competing with apps and tv shows and YouTube videos and social media. Most kids never have to be bored, and they have little tolerance for anything that isn't 100% entertaining.
#38 - August 20, 2013, 04:28 PM

Luv2eatreadwrite

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Great point, Veronica! This generation have a plethora of choices and they are not afraid to use it.
#39 - August 20, 2013, 07:07 PM

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I agree with Mike Jung, that when descriptions are finely crafted they can be delightful to read. Take Ann Patchett's novel, Bel Canto, for example. The pace is slow, the plot is skimpy, but Patchett's prose is so stunning and the interactions between her characters are so interesting that the book is sheer pleasure to read.
#40 - August 21, 2013, 07:08 PM
DUCKWORTH, THE DIFFICULT CHILD (Atheneum, 2019)
INCOGNOLIO (Janx Press, 2017)
CRASHING EDEN  (Solstice, 2012)
OTTO GROWS DOWN (Sterling, 2009)

I also agree that well-crafted descriptions make some novels a pleasure to read, whether they’re YA or MG or adult fiction. The caveat, for me, is that the amount and type of description needs to be right for the story and blend seamlessly with the other elements. When they work, great descriptions serve to hold readers inside the story rather than pull them out.

It seems kind of obvious to say that the level of description needs to be right for the story, but I think it’s difficult to achieve balance and to know how much description is needed. Authors, poor things, are forced to make tons of Goldilocks-style decisions about descriptive prose. Too much? Too little? Just right?

At rough estimate, only about half the novels I read have the power to live inside my head, and even fewer have the power to make me never want to leave the story world. I’ve heard a number of people say the Harry Potter books shaped their childhoods and they can’t imagine their early years without them. I take that to mean they lived inside the books, and I can’t imagine that happening without the rich details and descriptions Rowling provided.
#41 - August 22, 2013, 08:25 AM

Level of of description may be the most variable feedback I get from betas. Some people like lots of detail, some feel it bogs things down.

Like a lot of people here, I like the pacing of MG and YA. Not surprisingly, I like to write fast-paced plots as well. Sometimes a little too fast. I'm listening to MG and YA while commuting right now since I'm writing MG. I find it inspirational.
#42 - September 12, 2013, 10:05 AM
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I love all the books!!!!!  :love4:

From board books to picture books to easy readers to chapter books to MG to YA to mystery to sci-fi to fantasy to lit fiction to memoir to non-fiction to poetry to classics to graphic novels to...

Except, of course, those on that list that I just don't care for.  :snork:

I read widely in all those areas and find stories I *L.O.V.E.* all the time, but I also end up spending time on some stinkers too. Luckily there are always more fish in the sea and another good read is out there to find.
#43 - September 12, 2013, 01:12 PM

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I feel your pain! This is why I only read YA and MG. But I feel in general my writer brain has ruined some books. I picked up a MG/YA fantasy by a well known author and it was an utter slog. It suffered from a very very good edit. The pacing was way too slow. Which is really rare for this age group, but it happens pretty much everywhere. We know what we like and we tend to stick with it. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try other things from time to time. That said if a book isn't right for you, don't waste your time. There's too many other good books out there waiting :)

Level of of description may be the most variable feedback I get from betas. Some people like lots of detail, some feel it bogs things down.

Like a lot of people here, I like the pacing of MG and YA. Not surprisingly, I like to write fast-paced plots as well. Sometimes a little too fast. I'm listening to MG and YA while commuting right now since I'm writing MG. I find it inspirational.

I agree level of description does tend to vary and in the very fast paced books you don't see much description of surroundings you're more focused on the action. But I find in YA/MG the description tends to be significantly less than in adult books. YA/MG tend to be a paragraph maybe two at most of description before you get back to the story, or even better, it's sprinkled throughout the scene as the characters move around the room and interact with things.
#44 - September 13, 2013, 06:39 AM

JFriday-

I know what you mean!  Henry James was guilty of this in his novels, mostly because he got paid per word.  Sometimes I wonder if some of these modern authors are employing the same technique, though maybe not so much for payment reasons.  I think it's because they are trying to increase their word count, and the only way to do so is by describing everything (otherwise, they don't know what to write about!).  This is why I like Jane Austen: she leaves the characters' physical features up to you!  She puts little emphasis on what her characters look like and focuses only on her story.  It seems like so many modern books are written for HGTV!  Ha!

#45 - September 13, 2013, 10:19 AM

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