Saturday, July 3, 2010

Situation but conflict? Not so much.

Have you ever read one of those high-brow literary pieces that meander around, building character and dolloping on the setting detail until the richness chokes any interest you may have had? They are called vignette or situations, or sometimes if the author has the chutzpa, they are called stories. These "things," situations for lack of a better word, shamelessly lead the reader on into a deep relationship only to refuse to commit to any conflict, thus resolution. It's like blue balls of the brain when you read one of these bits of psychic masturbation. Where's my "happy" ending. Doesn't have to be happy ending in the sense of fairy tale, off into the sunset. I mean red light district happy ending. I want a climax, damn it!

That being said, why is it that my mind will only provide the character and the situation-- my own writing is a tease. Promising that grand slam that has me rounding third, but really leaves me in the dirt on second base. The rising tension, the climactic waltz that is story arc, the road to a sweaty, satisfying resolution eludes me.

Metaphorically, I need a kick in the intellectual baby maker.

Or maybe I need to stop reading porn.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Must reads

I am always looking for the next best read. Usually I don't find better than something to pass the time. However in the last year I've been reading up on the YA front in an attempt to get a grip on this exciting genre. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the real talent is writing for the 15-18 yo set!

Some real contenders for greatness? Hunger Games and Unwind.

Hunger Games is a dystopian future with an olympic games with a body count televised and packaged with sponsorships for the regional competitors. Like the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, winning players are trotted out as examples of sudden wealth, fame and luck for the rest of the starving populace to emulate. Too bad the winners don't want to play along. I can't wait for the last installment of the series. It is like Running Man with muscles.

Unwind is also a dystopia where pro-lifers and pro-choicers have come to a compromise. All children will be born, only if their parents choose a child can be "unwound," that is parted out or recycled for parts. The social order, angst and ripples of a society willing to do sacrifice teens this way is spun out with deft and care. Finally, this book contains one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever read. I don't want to ruin it, but I will say this... I had to put the book down so my stomach would settle. Not because of gore! The scene disturbed something so deep in me that I had to come back after a break and begin again. AMAZING!

So I'll be experimenting with the YA genre. What do you all think the tropes of YA are? At this point, I've seen sex, drugs, and brutal violence in YA. Is it just protag age that sets it apart now?