I read a YA trilogy this past week (well actually just book 2 and 3, I read the first one a couple of months ago) and I was struck with something I thought interesting. In the books there was a lot happening, but not much going on. That was my initial reaction to this trilogy. And in fact I had this same feeling for another YA series I've read (it only has two books in it so far).
I don't even know if that's the right way to put it though. A lot happening but not much going on makes it seem like a lot happens in the book but the story doesn't move forward, and I don't think that's the case. What I realized is that I just didn't care that much about the characters. When I really love a character, I could read about them doing almost anything. I would stick with them through parts of the book that really aren't all that great. But when I don't care about the character, it just seems like a lot of nothing for me and even though I'm interested enough to see what happens in the end, I find myself skimming a lot to get there faster.
It made me realize two things. One- I have to really try to make it so people care about my characters. And two, no matter what I do, not everyone will love them. Even series' that are wildly popular (hello Twilight) have haters out there who just didn't get it.
While reading the first two chapters of The Philosopher's Stone last night, I noticed all of these writing taboos that JK Rowling uses. There were so many was' and ... and -- and almost every dialogue line ended with an adverb. I'm wondering, is it more acceptable in middle grade? Or did she just get away with it? What's funny about it too is that I've never noticed it before. I probably only noticed it now because I'm editing my own book. It's interesting that she breaks all the "rules" and yet look how popular her books are.
On a completely random note, because it's still on my mind, I have to say how much I loathe Bentley (the biggest jerk-face ever). If you don't watch the Bachelorette then you'll have no idea what I'm talking about but if you do, I'm sure you'd agree. You know on Runaway Bride, how random women slap Richard Gere on the street because of the column he writes? Well I hope that the women of Salt Lake- or any woman at all who runs into Bentley on the street will do the same- give him a nice slap on behalf of Ashley and all womenkind. I would do it. Watch the video and you'll want to smack him too. Trust me.