Thursday, January 24, 2013

A List of Demands

They're in the pit and they're trying to get me
Remember when I posted a while ago about being in a book rut? In that particular post, my rut wasn't so much books that I didn't like, it was more about books with endings that didn't satisfy me.

This one is about books that I can't finish (so, you could say I don't like them). There have been far too many of these lately and I'm starting to worry that I'm having an "it's not you, it's me" situation. Maybe it's my fault I can't get into these books. Maybe my standards have just been raised too high by books like The Raven Boys and Unspoken and characters like Augustus Waters and Mara Dyer. Maybe from now on contemporary romances will forever be the only books I can finish in a day.

But I don't think that's the problem.

This here is an open letter to authors, begging them not to fall into the pits that the authors of my recent reads have fallen into and have tried to drag me in with them. Well, maybe it's more like a list of demands. Yes, that sounds right.
  1. If you are cowriting a book with another author and you have two main characters, please, please, PLEASE alternate voices. Do not stick me with one [boring] narrator throughout the whole thing when you could just as easily shake it up a little and show the story from two different perspectives.
  2. If you don't want to do this, at least pick the more interesting character to narrate the whole thing. You know, like maybe pick the magical and tormented girl over her whiny and mostly-normal boyfriend?
  3. It's great if you want to have a heroine who's more average-looking than the average heroine (ha see what I did there). Maybe you even want her to be, gasp, FAT. Huzzah! I celebrate this. I'm all for having females with realistic physical attributes and not contributing to the notion that in order for a girl to be a heroine, she must be gorgeous or skinny or cute. But PLEASE don't make her appearance her defining characteristic, just because she's not perfect. Don't give the fat heroine a food obsession-- don't constantly tell me what she's eating, what she's thinking about eating, what her favorite foods are. I don't care about that. I care about what she's doing. Show me that she is more than the way she looks. Give me a character who celebrates her imperfections, who doesn't let them slow her down. (Kami Glass, Lady Sleuth, is a good example of such a character)
  4. Additionally, don't make it necessary for such a character to change her appearance in order to have character development. I realize that the two go well together, but if a guy won't even look at her until she's dropped 20 pounds, and she herself is OKAY with that, I am done with both of them. Instantly.
  5. Don't overdescribe. Just in general. Nobody likes that.
It's a pretty short list, so you'd think it would be easier to meet these demands. Apparently not. I haven't finished a book in a week, and this is not acceptable.