WS 37: Classic YA vs Contemporary YA

The writingsnippets crew reads first pages of YA classic and contemporary novels to see what sold in the past and what sells now. We compare hooks, voice, viewpoint, description, setting, character, and more. We’ll be giving away one of the books we evaluate this month, so be sure to leave a comment if you want to be entered in a drawing, and let us know which book you’d prefer to win.

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Information for the beginning or aspiring writer about all things writing in the fiction world. Novels, publishing, etc. We feature author and other professional interviews. View all posts by Writing Snippets

6 responses to “WS 37: Classic YA vs Contemporary YA

  • K. Bill Albrecht

    I found your discussion of first pages– and first books– really interesting. Personally, I think that all of these novels would bore some people, and would pull some people in. I think there are not many books that get picked up by the first publisher who looks at the first page. I think most of them get rejected a bunch of places until they hit the right reader on the right day, who gets pulled in and turns the page. We all have different tastes. So for me, I think that even if my first line, paragraph, or page doesn’t grab a particular reader, it might grab someone else.

  • Jocelyn Nash Carlin, Writer

    So true. I’m actually reading a book right now where the first couple of pages didn’t grab me, but I had the time and patience to give it more of a try, and now I’m really enjoying it.

    However, I do think it’s important to “hook” agents/editors with strong first pages on your very first book, when you’re still striving to make a sale.

    Plus, I think it’s fascinating to look at the ways that styles and pacing have evolved over time. It makes me wonder where we’re headed next.

    • Alice

      Yes, it’s very subjective, but there are certain elements that can give you a better chance of hooking a reader/agent/editor these days. Voice is a big one, starting with less description and more emotion is helpful, and of course having a unique and amazing idea to start with, etc . . .

  • K. Bill Albrecht

    I’m not great at hooking the reader from the start, but I’ve been working on this opening paragraph:

    “You, the reader, reading this right now, are in terrible danger and only this book can save you. If you don’t read it, you will be killed by a gang of Nazi biker mummies with machine guns. But if you do read it, you will be a famous TV millionaire and everyone will love you. And you will win the Olympics.”

    What do you think?

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