I’m not particularly faithful to any genre, be it fantasy, comedy, or sci-fi, although I do have a penchant for young adult and dystopic futures. After a short series of books that demanded that I read them1, I asked myself what they had in common… really. Although all four were young adult, one was a dystopic future, another a fantasy, another a sci-fi and, finally, a present day romantic/comedy/thriller. In common however, all four featured a surprising MC2: a philosophic zombie, a crazy descendent of Alice in Wonderland, a cyborg Cinderella, and a part-Asian, ass-kicking, funny/quirky teenage girl. Coincidentally, YA and dystopic futures nearly always feature a quirky/strong MC.
In retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising that these ‘surprising’ characters are such a draw. What makes compelling fiction after all? Surprising details, surprising plot developments (not, jerky, what the … developments, but insightful, oh, right/wow! ones), surprising stories that reveal something, well, surprising.
For such an obvious insight, it has considerably helped my story planning and, indeed, has incited a merger of two MC’s (rather, one was dropped and the other took up the extra action!) — no longer will they be splitting the glory of the storyline.
This may just be a passing phase for my browsing tastes, but I’d wager not.
Please share what moves you to pick a book from the many, many others.
1. Recent finds: Warm Bodies, Splintered, Cinder and Maid for Me. Of those I’ve finished so far, Cinder was the only one to sustain that initial hook to the finish (I can’t wait for the sequel!). Warm Bodies was superbly written and the zombie narrator was philosophically hilarious, but the ending didn’t deliver. Maid for Me was super fun but not so well written in my opinion. Look for a more thorough review of Splintered after I finish reading it.
2. Main character