Top Ten Characters/Themes/Ideas on my Reading Wish List
This is quite possibly the most difficult topic I've ever done.
1. Teenage succubus. This could be so much fun. I don't even think about it in a smutty way. If done correctly, this could be campy and awesome. Succubus in training who messes everything up!
2. Steampunkish fairies. Fairies are supposed to be nature spirits blah blah blah. But once upon a time, supernatural creatures were referred to as machinery in plays because they often help the plot along, keep the story's gears turning. I've had this in my head ever since.
3. More religious characters but not in religious fiction. I would love to see more mcs who embrace religion in "normal" ya fiction. Often, those characters are relegated to preachy religiously-minded books. I don't want books to preach to me, but I would like to see religion portrayed a bit more realistically on the page.
4. More body equality for characters! This is actually a big one on my wishlist, and it's not just for girls. Authors really are giving female characters more diversity with their body shapes, but it seems like all the guys are cut and chiseled and hard planes of smooth skin and blah blah blah. Boys aren't built like that. Cath (and therefore Rainbow Rowell) mentions it in Fangirl, how Levi is softer and rounder than she had imagined. How he had curves too. There's nothing wrong with drooling over a male character who has a body like the David, but let's get some realism going on here too! Fat Kid Rules the World indeed!
5. Fewer book-loving, introverted mc's. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I am a book-loving introvert myself! I just don't want to have to read about them all the time. Again, it's all about diversity! I want a little variety in my reading.
6. Fewer clichéd phrases. In romance, it's "falling over the edge" and all those horrific sexy times metaphors. In ya, there are far too many descriptions of unique eyes and how apparently every shirt ever will "bring out the color of [someone's] eyes." Got blue eyes and wearing a blue shirt? Apparently your eyes look bluer! Got blue eyes and wearing a green shirt? Even more blue. Blue eyes and a puke-colored shirt? SO MUCH BLUE LIKE THE SKY AT NOON/MIDNIGHT/ALL THE TIME. Ugh. Kill me. Plz stahp.
7. Fewer SURPRISE-WE'RE-FAMILY! moments. As much as I love the series, The Mortal Instruments is a pretty good bad example of this. Clary + Jace: Let's make out. No, jk, we're siblings, better not, but I'm still hot and bothered for you so let's make out anyway. Guess what, we're not siblings anymore NOM NOM NOM. Sebastian-when-he-was-legit-being-Sebastian: Hey, Clary, let's make out. Jk, lol, I'm your psycho brother. Valentine: *has all the kids* Jace: WTF is his name now? Srsly, it's like an episode of Passions. And TMI is NOT the only offender out there so don't even go hating on it alone. Let's cut down on the amount of really dramatic familial revelations, shall we? Not every ya novel can have a character with one (or even both) parents presumed dead and then have them come back to life. Ditto secret siblings.
8. More racial diversity & less hating on authors because we don't agree with how they're attempting to portray it. A lot of authors get crap for "not being realistic with poc characters." Well, 1. props to any author who does make the attempt and 2. maybe that's their experience, which would make it real to them but not necessarily real to you. I admit, growing up in East Tennessee....not a lot of diversity. My two best black friends? One worked at American Eagle, loves polka dots, and vintage clothing. She is the preppiest of the preppiest. The other is pretty granola and would be happier living in a hippie commune than a city in a conservative state. My close experience with people of other races is probably vastly different from anyone who grew up in more urban area. Now I live in Dallas, which has introduced me to life in a heavily Hispanic-influenced city, and this life is not something I ever would have known before last year. I'm learning, and so are we all. This is not me saying it's okay to be outright racist, but I like to think well of others and give them the benefit of the doubt. In our ya community, I very much doubt that most of our authors have a goal to be a racist. Most are pretty great people who would never be so crude. So let's cut authors some slack because as long as they're trying, we're getting somewhere.
9. More unique settings. I'm sure it's easier to set a novel in LA or New York or Paris or London because the reasearch is much easier, but I'd love to see some random and wacky settings like Bozeman, Montana (shout out to all my BBT nerds out there!), or San Gimignano, Italy, or BFE Australia. I love that books have the power to take us all over the world...so let's do it!
Actually, that wasn't so bad once I started writing them up...until I got to number 10. I kept feeling like it should be a big one, an epic final wish for my wishlist. I couldn't think of anything that fit. Heck, I couldn't think of anything at all. And then it hit me. Something pretty simple. Something I've wanted for a while.
10. Audiobooks with a male and female co-narrators. Lemme explain. This actually happens a lot. The Infernal Devices, These Broken Stars, Fangirl. All had male and female narrators alternating. However...in TBS, the male narrator read all of Tarver's chapters, including Lilac's lines and the female character did Lilac's chapters including Tarver's lines. Uhhh...you guys had two narrators. You had a Tarver. You had a Lilac. Why didn't you just go ahead and have Tarver read his lines in Lilac's chapters and Lilac in Tarver's?! You used two narrators for the interrogation sequences! I loved the TID audiobooks, and I was really looking forward to hearing dreamy Ed Westwick read some of the scenes...like Tessa and Jem in his room? ;) Imagine my disappointment when the female narrator did that scene instead. Major bummer! I don't need audiobooks acted out like a movie, but I would like to see more audiobooks make use of multiple narrators and actually have the guy read the male characters' lines, you know?
That's it. That's my wishlist. Feel free to judge me if you don't agree, but let me know why, okay? Share your links! I'd love to know what you put down for your list and if it was easier for you to write than this one was for me!