☸ To preface, I would like to point out that these are the opinions of a long time reader and aspiring author. I understand that writing is not easy, and therefore no matter how crummy the book turns out to be, it should at least be deemed worth some degree of respect for simply having been written. It takes an insane amount of dedication, work, sweat, tears, and hard work for these novels to come about. My thoughts and feelings on the final product, do not reflect towards the writer as a person, simply because of the outcome of the particular novel in question.
So, where to begin? If you are an avid reader, you more than likely have encountered that one book which served as the catalyst into your sudden adoration of the printed world. For me, the journey began with Eragon by Christopher Paolini; a homeschooler who at the age of fifteen, not only wrote the beginning novel in the inheritance cycle, but also graduated from high school with a full education. If you think this is impressive, wait until you read the book.
Eragon is loaded with a sort of magic you can only find in the depths of the world of fantasy. It sparks the imagination into a dizzying whirl of bedazzlement, in a way that stirs the heart into a passionate craving for adventure and creativity you cannot find anywhere else. The characters robbed me of my heart, and became the people I admired most in the world of literature. Eragon, taught me that loyalty, friendship, fantasy, and adventure, were right at my fingertips! He showed me that they were worth fighting for, even if it meant going against insurmountable odds, and even in times when the enemy sometimes was yourself.
This epic adventure became the first in a long line of books I now treasure with a sort of esteemed reverence. Throughout my childhood and into my current years, Harry Potter, Spiderwick, The Rangers Apprentice, The Book of Three, The Series of Unfortunate Events, Bartimaeus, Percy Jackson, Inkheart, Fablehaven, Peter and the Star Catchers, The city of Ember, Mind Games, The Host, The Hunger Games, Candy Shop War, Lord of The Rings (though that was mainly the movies), The Immortal Rules, Seven Realms, and so many other titles have shaped my very soul and being into the person I am now. Eventually, I even discovered my all-time favorite novels, Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive both by Brandon Sanderson, along with Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
A good book, is made up of more than just fancy words and carefully put together sentences. It's much more than an interesting plot line, or even good characters. When you're reading a good book, It's as though part of your soul awakens and forms an unexplainable bond with the spirit inked onto the page. The words on the paper jump to life! It's more than a movie, where only the visual sense is engaged, it's so much more. Reading entails emotion, mind activity, and interpretation on a higher level than many other forms of entertainment. It's like a living, breathing thing within your mind. It's beautiful and enchanting. Full of fire, and energy. Good books are really the doors to another reality. A reality which can be crossed into every time you open the page, no matter what's going on in your life at the moment. You find yourself desperate for the next glimpse into that world when you are apart, the mere moments you spend away like the aching seconds ticking by in an eternity. It is a form of art so explicitly delicate and bewitching, that it's hard to return to our reality when the story closes. It is these books, which I have come to love with a fervent passion.
Now, as expected, let's turn our attention to the real topic for this post. Bad books.
It has become increasingly apparent to me, on my many voyages to and from the library, that most of the books being written in our current age are absolute, bloody rubbish. Let me address the two main reasons behind this:
I cannot. No, I really cannot tolerate this form of complete and utter abandonment from the good name of literature. These abysmal creations should be sought out, and destroyed in waves of fire and acid. For those of you who evidently do not know what insta-love is, it is the rather absurd situation that commonly happens in many young adult 'books', (and I use that term loosely), when the heroine/hero instantly falls in love with the subject of romantic attention upon first glance.
First of all, this is NOT what happens in real life. Sure, you may abstractly observe to yourself, "Oh, he/she's pretty cute. I might want to get to know them." -but "Oh my gosh, I'm in love with this girl I barely know and am going to ask her to marry me as soon as I can get close enough to pack her in the back of my car," IS NOT APPROPRIATE. It is a lazy, uninteresting, and a downright sickening form of hackneyed phrases known by the common term, as a cliché. I cannot stress how boring, and downright terrible these books are.
In my opinion, the insta-love spree started with the popular young adult novel, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Now, for those of you who have actually read the book, I think we can agree that it wasn't as bad as all the hype made it out to be. It was far from good, but it was enjoyable enough to keep my attention, despite its many flaws. After Twilight's sudden birth into our world however, I feel that every halfwit with a scrap of writing ability, has suddenly decided to recreate the story of Twilight by just changing the names and adding a new mush extra.
This is utter blasphemy to the dignity of the human race.
If I read one more book starting out with "girl in high school, sees attractive looking boy with a dark secret," I'M GOING TO FREAKING BURN THE BOOK ON TELEVISION.
Writers out there, if you are considering writing a book, PLEASE do NOT use the overused ideas within our young adult genre. I understand that not everyone can be as brilliant as Brandon Sanderson, but if you could just put a little more than a days thought into this book, that would be appreciated.
2. Flat characters/plot.
This is pretty much along the same lines as the first, yet a little more specific. Use your brain. Recently, I read the absolutely heartbreaking novel, The fault In Our Stars by John Green. Not only did he use his brain, but he crafted a thought provoking, beautifully worded novel, about real pain and heart ache. He showed us what it is really like to be human, and have problems that cause you to stick out from the rest of society. It wasn't hard for the main characters. It was brutal. Not only did he excellently portray the romance, but he developed it without it becoming the characters themselves. Though Hazel and Augustus loved each other, they still had their own personalities. They kept what was most important in themselves, while building up the rest through each other.
When I open a romance book, I want there to be a real effort made by the author to capture what love really means. That entails building, developing, and cultivating the relationship without it becoming their entire personality. No one likes to read about that sappy girl and boy who just hang all over each other and have real no life outside of making out on ally walls, (Jace and Clary, I'm looking at you).
There are reasons for plots. They are meant to progress a story, regardless of what that story is about. When I open a book, and the only real thing that happens on the paper is that Sally's dog dies, I'm going to be disappointed. However, if the grocery store next to Sally's house gets blown up, and she suddenly finds large pastries wrapped in stylishly pink wrapping paper at her doorstep every Friday, with mysterious notes adorned with illustrations depicting various winky faces, I'm going to be intrigued. (Maybe slightly creeped out too, but you get the point).
Writing is meant to be an adventure! It's not meant to bore the reader to sleep with endless clichés and overused plot ideas. If you can't at least try to be original, then why not just attach a helpful notice to the front of your book stating, "I basically ripped this story idea off Twilight, read at your own peril." This would be much appreciated by the girl who now has to check out over twenty books from the library every week, just to find out that over six of them are basically plagiarism.
I think most times authors really don't value the true worth of both characters, plot, and dialog as much as they should. I'm not against writing about what you're passionate about, but I do plead with you to try and be yourself! Don't bend to the whims of the popular book trends, strike out on your own. I don't want another Hunger Games, or X-men. I want something that you thought up, you came up with. I want to read something that jumps to life in my hands!
Though I could really go on about this for a few hours, I feel this is enough to accentuate my points for the moment. Any thoughts? Was I too harsh, or not harsh enough? Do you agree with Twilight being the mother of all insta-love?