Zed Lopez

Getting the Work Done

This post on a NY Times Blog sings the virtues of YA compared to some adult fiction:

If there is one truism of successful Y.A., it’s that the book’s unrelenting emphasis must be on character and event, and not the brilliance of the author’s viewpoint. For me it was a humbling experience, trying to shed the essential narcissism of my writer’s project because my teen readers wouldn’t tolerate it. But on crawling out on the other side, I saw that what Y.A. novels value above all else is storytelling. It took me even longer to realize that that needn’t lessen a book’s complexity — it just prioritizes the reader’s experience. Ultimately, if there’s a refrain I hear from the many adults turning to Y.A., it’s not that the books are any simpler. They’re just more pleasurable.

A reading experience I dread is to invest hours in a heralded and beautifully written book, only to have the curtain pull away and reveal that the novel’s purpose all along has been to serve as an elaborate proof of the writer’s specialness, that the pen kept writing long after the content ran dry. “I didn’t quite get the story the author was trying to tell” is the more polite reader’s version of, “Screw you, author, for making us come to a restaurant you picked, making us order what you wanted, and then not even letting us get a word in edgewise.”

As a genre reader, it’s a little hard not to notice that most of what he describes applies as much to genre fiction as compared to so-called adult fiction.