(WriteOnCon is THIS week! If you write kidlit, check it out here. I highly recommend it! And go here to sign up for our Fact or Fiction bloghop in September.)
The first post on this topic focused on characteristics of guy narrators/MCs. Today I'm highlighting plotting traits of fiction that appeal to boys/young men. I've mentioned in earlier posts that YA geared entirely toward boys is super-small...probably for a few reasons: as evidenced by NPRs recent top 100 YA reads list, most YA authors are women; and guys as a whole (especially teen guys) aren't big readers to begin with.
However, in case some of you are writing to reverse this trend - the one where teen guys aren't big readers - here are a few characteristics of boy-friendly fiction I've noticed in my reading travels.
2. Guys don't like soap opera-dwelling angst. In Ender's Game, the MC endures all kinds of emotional and physical stresses but Card details Ender's reactions - and his angst - very swiftly. Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen both have plenty of emotional fall out from their actions but neither of them dwells on it. They're always moving forward, turning their angst into action.
3. The setting is nuts-and-bolts realistic. World building is precise, the rules are clear and cause-and-effect is logical. Think of Star Wars or Battleship Galactica or any popular sci-fi. Sure, there are lots of gadgets and cool wizardry but all of it is based on fact. Yes, the sci-fi genre requires such careful attention to what-could-be, but I believe that's one of the reasons so many guys are sci-fi fans. The realistic use of imagination appeals to them. (LOTR is, of course, an exception, although Tolkien's world has very clear rules...and also lots of #1 and #2.)
4. Guys like plot-driven stories or stories based on fact. There's a whole genre for character-driven stories: chick lit. Jodi Picoult, Barbara Delinsky, Jennifer Weiner - they're all great, but my husband or son are as likely to pick up a book in this genre as they are to get a mani/pedi.
6. Very little romance. Need I say more?
So what did I miss? What are some YA novels you've read that would appeal to a guy audience?
Have a great week!