18 December 2010

Teenagers Reading More

I apologize for not posting in such a long time. We've hit the end of the semester rush at the University, and with final tests, grading, and graduation, etc., my time is all taken up.

The news last week was that teenagers are reading 14% more this year than last. That's the good news. The bad news is that a lot of what available for them is not necessarily good. The news article cited Twilight's one-dimensional characterizations, whiny main character, and clunky prose. It also cited Hunger Games, saying that it is well written but too violent for many younger teenagers. I was turned off to Twilight for the reasons cited. It just never grabbed me. As for Hunger Games, I really cannot bear reading an entire book narrated in present tense. Does one really narrate to someone else what one is doing as it happens? Not in my experience.

In Angela I attempt to provide in elegant prose a story suitable for everyone while dealing with important issues our country is facing. If that is the kind of thing you like, please check it out. Next I will be posting a series of three or four posts on the passing of the Modern Age into the present Age of Technology. In a real sense, that is what the characters in my novels are dealing with in a way that is understandable to everyone.

Please visit my book's website at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html


  1. In your comment on "Hunger Games", I am amused that the continual present tense narration was a turn-off for you. I am using that form myself in a (knock-off) story I'm writing, because it gives more of a sense of "this is what I did and why", as opposed to what the characters may have wanted to do, or attributed motivation upon later reflection. According to translators, this is the style that the synoptic Gospels were also written in. While it is perhaps the sign of a new (i.e. less experienced and able) author, I find that the technique is especially helpful when emotional content is explored. Granted, it may change once time and experience are gained by the author, it may also be done in the hopes that it may more ably draw the reader in, and establish the feeling of immersion in the story.

    Or it may just be the sign of a hack; as I said, I'm using it myself, which makes my own lack of experience stand out as an example of said hackery. Perhaps it is a sign that the author is new to the whole story-telling experience; perhaps it's a sign that the editor is also new.

    Anyway, I just found it interesting, and thought I'd share some of my perspective. Thank you for the time and space to do so!

  2. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I agree that it is effective in telling a character's emotional state.

    Now your comment on the synoptic gospels is interesting. I can read them in the original Greek and you find that Mark uses a present tense occasionally to give immediacy to the narration, but mostly he uses a past tense. Matthew uses even less present and Luke practically none at all.

    I have to confess as well that I feel the need to return to the basics of fiction and to write simply.

    The bottom line is that literature should have room for everything and that as readers we can all have preferences. Some of the best regarded figures in literature (I'm thinking especially of William Faulkner) wrote entire novels primarily in present tense.

    "A writer writes...always" (from Throw Momma from the Train). I would add, a writer reads...always. Keep on writing!