Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Character-Driven or Plot-Driven? Grown up or Young Adult?

Today I'm over at The Lit Ladies where they accused Afraid of Everything of being a character-driven, well-written, thematic novel in their review. I'm happy with that because when I write, I start with people. The plot then develops due to the motives, flaws, choices of the characters.

These are the kinds of books I like to read, and they're the ones I write. I also write about adults, not kids. I don't read much YA. Even when I was a teenager I read adult novels. Not risque "adult" novels, although I did sneak the most talked about book of the day Peyton Place into the house. Back then, it was considered lurid; it would be quite tame compared to what's out there now in the lurid department.

I like literary, character-driven novels about grown up people dealing with grown up issues. What about you? What are the kinds of books you like to read? And if you're a writer, are they the same ones you like to write?

14 comments:

  1. HI Karen, thank you for stopping by and giving me support. It helps so much. I love 19th century novels, from the great Russian, English, and European authors. And, of course, I love books by our great Swedish authors too. Other than that, for me to enjoy a book, it must be well written, if it is, I will read most anything. Not romance novels though.

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  2. I skip YA almost entirely, because, just like you, I never read those at that age. ( There was no such category, but essentially books about teen protagonists that were meant to be read by late teens and up always existed) By the time I was thirteen I read great novels for all ages.
    Now I'm back to reading (and writing) MG and I also read good books for all ages.
    To be accused of writing character driven books is the greatest compliment, Karen. Keep being guilty.

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  3. I tend to prefer "grown-up book" too. Funny how we can just say adult books! LOL

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  4. I'm finding myself drawn more often to YA these days, but that's partly because I've branched into writing for teens and I believe in reading what you write. But I've always loved YA books. I grew up on Christopher Pike more so than Stephen King.

    I think my packed life schedule makes shorter books a lot more appealing to read and to write, particularly since I've discovered so many amazing authors in the last few years.

    Adventure stories, of all kinds, will always be my favourites.

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  5. I usually read adult style novels but where does Harry Potter fit in? I love those but they appeal to both i think. I also read mainly non fiction-art, architecture, film, travel, etc... One day i want to write my mom's biography

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    1. Birgit, Harry Potter crosses all the demographics, why it was such a hit I imagine. I don't care for fantasy but enjoyed them.

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  6. I'm with you - character-driven stories is what I read and write. I don't think the YA genre was a thing when I was a kid. I remember reading something by Judy Bloom that was not meant for kids.

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  7. Sounds like we like the same kinds of books.

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  8. I tend to read all over the place but usually I won't pick up a YA book unless my daughter insists so we can talk about. Now she's not a teenager anymore, I expect I'll read even less. I have been reading more literary fiction lately at her recommendation. We trust each other to know what the other one likes.

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    1. Susan, When my kids were young I read their kinds of books too, but I also inserted my own "reading list" so I had them reading Exodus by Leon Uris and other more advanced reading to expand their horizons.

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  9. I don't think there was much young adult when I was a teen. I went straight from kids books to adult fantasy and science fiction.
    I enjoy reading both types of books, but when I write, I am more character-driven.

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  10. i read Peyton Place in my youth -in secret. No way would my mother have approved. I loved it, all the more because it was forbidden.

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  11. Hi Karen - I don't read many novels ... but used to read romance (Georgette Hayer etc) early on, have always loved detective series, and on to the Grishams, and WIlbur Smiths type ... and stories on Africa - but mostly I don't read novels - biographies, historical stories etc now-a-days ... cheers Hilary

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