One YA Reader’s Desperate Plea

Standard

I have a bone to pick with Young Adult authors. This has been burning a hole in my brain for quite some time, so I apologize in advance if I get a little persnickety. Here it goes …

WHY DO YOU FEEL THE NEED TO CHANGE THE POINT OF VIEW IN THE LAST BOOK OF A SERIES??????

Shouty capitals may seem rude and  uncalled for, but I’m down to my last nerve on this irritating literary trend. For the record, I’m not just asking this question as a reader, but also as a writer of YA Fantasy. Personally, I would never pull this trick on my readers as most of the time it isn’t necessary.

I should point out that the device of changing the point of view has always bothered me no matter the genre, but I’ve reached a new of level aggravation due to its use in several Young Adult series.  I don’t mind small instances of shifting points of view in a prologue  or epilogue, but my brain explodes when the concluding book in a series breaks a previously established point of view.  Why write an entire series from one point of view and then suddenly switch it up at the end? It makes no sense!

I’m a long time reader of multiple book series, mainly in the paranormal and fantasy divisions. Even though I’m an adult, I’m still a teenager at heart and I love YA books. The authors of these books deserve huge snaps for vivid and creative storytelling, but I’m finding myself more and more leery of picking up a new series because I fear what will happen with the last book of the series.  From some untold reason, this is when authors decide to rob me of my favorite characters!

My frustration apexed when my phobia of changing points of view kicked into gear twice over the last month. First, with Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and second with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures series. Before I go on my rant, I do want to point out that these are very talented writers, I just happened to disagree with their tactics.

There are a number of reasons why Roth’s Divergent series is on my poop list, but my heart sank when I read the inside flap and found out Allegiant was written with a dual point of view. I decided to stick it out because I loved the first two books, but the sudden change in format really irked me for two reasons:

1. I loved the main character and didn’t like being pulled from her head.

2. A little critical thought on why Roth chose a dual point of view format gave away a major plot point. Before I was done reading the first chapter, I knew who was going to die. Cue my broken heart.

When I picked up the last book in my most recent favorite series, Beautiful Creatures, I was devastated to find it was divided into a dual perspective. What? Are you kidding me? I spend three books entrenched in the charming Ethan Wate’s head and you’re going to make me leave him? Not cool. Lena Duchannes might be one awesome chick, but she is more intriguing through Ethan’s eyes.

Even my favorite series of all time contains the dreaded change in point of view. Imagine my horror when I opened Twilight: Breaking Dawn and realized I was stuck in Jacob’s head instead of Bella’s. It was torture and I’m still mad I had to spend so much time with a character I detested. Stephenie Meyer, I love you, but why spend three books developing Bella’s point of view only to rip it away from your readers?

There are many more guilty series, but it all comes down to the same thing: Why change a good thing? When a series progresses with each book written in one point of view, it’s only logical to retain the same point of view through the last book. After two or three books with one character, readers stick around because of love for the character and a relationship of trust with that character’s perspective. When the last book shifts into someone else’s head it fractures the reader/character dynamic.

While fiction writing is all about trying new things and shaking up reality, there is something to be said for maintaining a sense of order within a series. Let me walk through the story by the side of a character I’ve come to know and love. Please don’t force me to wonder what she’s thinking as her story comes to a close. Readers deserve to complete the journey in the same way it began. Anything less feels like betrayal.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Novel #2 Progress: Sick Days

Standard

My immune system let me down and I caught one horrific cold last week. I dubbed it “The Inconsiderate Virus” because not only did it knock me down from writing, but it was enough to pull me out of my day job for two days (I never, ever call in sick to work!). While I lost more than a few writing days, my muse was not one to stay down for very long. I still managed to get a little work done on Novel #2.

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 37,696
  • End Word Count: 39,221
  • Total: 1,525

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 38,614
  • End Word Count: 40,378
  • Total: 1,764

Writing Process Notes:

  • It’s never wise to try and write when your system is flooded with cold medicine, so I had to leave my draft alone for a few days. There is nothing worse than being stuck at home with loads of time, but no ability to sit down and write. I swear, this is every writer’s nightmare.
  • When I was able to get back into revising, I got a to section that brought back some wonderful memories. I am currently working on the chapters I wrote during my extended stay in London. Memories of rain, my favorite coffee shop, museums, and green parks came flooding back as if it were only yesterday that I tread through my second home. As I look back on those sections, I can definitely see how my experiences in London shaped the overall course of the novel. It was there that I made some big decisions about where the story was going to go and how my characters would evolve.
  • Last week, I mentioned how a visit to the British Museum helped me construct a traveling exhibit for my novel. Here are three sculptures that served as inspiration in more ways than one:
100_0127

Greek Exhibit at the British Museum
Photo by: c.b.w. 2011

Novel Tidbit:

Point-of-view and Tense:

  • Normally, I find it very natural to write in third-person and past tense. However, when I began writing Novel #2,  I made the decision to write in first-person and present tense. Sometimes I wonder why I made that choice, seeing as there are a number of challenges in writing from one person’s point of view and presenting the story “in the moment.”
  • All I have to do is look to my muse to reaffirm my reasoning for telling the story only from Amanda’s eyes and letting her story play out in the present. From the very first sentence, Amanda’s voice has been the one telling me what to write, so I have no choice but to stick to her vantage point. As for tense, one of the major themes of the novel is the idea of living in the moment and embracing life. This theme ties into Ian’s true identity and each character’s journey to break free of their obstacles. The use of present tense allows me integrate this theme into every page without drilling it into the reader in an annoying way. In a way, the tense tells the story just as much as Amanda and Ian do.

– – –

c.b.w. 2013