Write4Kids shared some comments from actual teenaged book readers about what they look for in fiction.
Two items struck me. One was that some of these readers are very explicit about wanting “good-looking people.” For example:
Caroline really hates when the good-looking main character is in love with a “freak of the week”, and she wants at least one beautiful person in a novel, preferably more.Others prefers “Beautiful people” with “Unique names” and “British accents (Audrey and Caroline agree with this times 20).” Which I guess, since we’re talking about prose, means writing things like “She was beautiful,” and, “He spoke with a British accent.” That’s so much easier than having to draw or cast beautiful British people.
Another quality sought by two of the readers is “Inside jokes.” To be specific, “Inside jokes that are funny!” And:
Seriously, if you’re writing for teens, and you don’t include an entertaining inside joke, I’ll be like “no.”This I have more trouble understanding. I think of an “inside joke” as one understood by teller and hearer because they belong to a small group of people who share certain references. If the teller is an author, and the hearer one of thousands of readers, does that qualify? And what shared knowledge defines the group? Knowledge of a certain canon of literature, of what it’s like being a young adult in America today, of what’s happened previously in a series?
(The post’s main author also thinks the name “Damian” is so over. *tt*)