To recap: I read this article by Joelle Anthony, called Red Hair Is Not As Uncommon As You Think.
She listed tired themes in YA fiction, and it really got me thinking.
I'm revealing her list in a series of fives. You can find the first set, here.
The second set, is below.
6. Characters that like retro music-generally of the era that the author was in high school. Guilty. But let me explain. When using music references, I choose artists/songs that stand the test of time. Or, I make up trendy sounding band or song names. Also, hubby is a musician and total music snob. In high school he and his friends only listened to 70's bands, and to this day claim that era is when all the "good music" happened. So I kinda developed one of my characters after him. How about you?
7. Irresponsible parents, with main character who end up paying bills, cooking, cleaning etc. In a YA writer's defense, how else are we supposed to get the adults out of the picture? But yeah, it's kind of overkill in YA books. One example I can think of where the parents are both "absent" is in SHIVER, but there are plenty more. I actually like reading stories with decent parents, and I've definitely tried creating more responsible, loving parents in my stories.
8. Female characters obsessed with Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Bennet in general. Yes, I've noticed this. It's about making a connection to a "classic love story". I call this the Bella/Stephanie Meyer effect. When I walk into Target, I cringe seeing the classic, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, with a hug sticker slapped on it that reads, "Bella's favorite book." A ploy to get kids reading? Sure, but enough already!
9. Main characters who hate math. I've got a couple of theories about this one. As a sweeping generalization, I'll say that writers are no mathematicians. So we may create this kind of character as a math cop-out (hey, less to research). Also mathematicians aren't seen as sensitive types, so it's not a good trait for the school hottie. But it is for the nerd who turns into a hottie. :D
10. A main character with only one good friend. The plot almost always includes the compulsary argument scene, leaving her to eat lunch alone for weeks--usually in the library. The one book that comes to mind is SOME GIRLS ARE (such a great book). But I get why this is a theme. It ramps up the intensity and drama.
The point, again, is that themes are bound to be repeated. Be more creative and make your story your own!
See you on Thursday!