This is the first time I’ve participated in The Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve seen several of her lists and as a list person myself find them creative and informative. This week’s topic was so creative I had to participate myself: if you could make authors write about these things you would.
It’s every readers dream to find books that fit specific topics, character and story types, involve specific locations, cover niche genres. As a writer myself it’s great to learn about what our readers want to read about. You can look at other Reading Wishlists here. As I’m both a reader and a writer I have all kinds of wishes for my reading pleasure. Here’s my top ten:
#1 – Niche Loves
I just finished Fangirl about a Nebraska native who fell in love with a Harry Potter knock-off and started writing fanfic about the characters. I’m not a fan of fanfic, but it was fascinating to read about Cather who was so wrapped up in it. It wasn’t an accessory to the character but a very specific interest she had that was a part of who she is as a human being. I love the idea of learning about other niche loves that people have, why they love them and how it affects a character’s life.
#2 – Supernatural Worlds
One of my favorite books is The Leopard Mask. Sounds intriguing, right? It’s set in a supernatural world where two kids are saved by a man with a leopard’s head. It’s actually a mask that he cannot remove. The only thing he remembers about himself is that his name is Guin. Vampires, zombies, werewolves are all popular supernatural worlds that have many series written in them. I’d love to see worlds that aren’t about a specific kind of creature but are about supernatural creatures in general. It could have humans as the basic unit of life with only unusual beings hiding within it or it could be a world populated by otherworldly creatures. Utmost though is making it creative. You want to run out and read The Leopard Mask now, don’t you?
#3 – A Not Every Girl Heroine
It seems every female protagonist I read about today could be any girl plucked from anywhere USA. Let’s make our heroine’s unique. We all want to be unique, why then do we generasize our characters? One of my favorite books of all time, Kim, is about an Indian boy who befriends a Lama. This is the kind of female protagonist I’d live to see more of. The more specific we make our characters the more we come to see these characters as real live people who could populate our world today. It’s in their unique point of views that we can learn more about ourselves. The girls over at The Books Wars (who introduced me to today’s list) want to see race playing a part in who the protagonists are. I say here, here! Let’s tap into all the elements that make a human unique and use them for heroines that stand out and inspire us.
#4 – More Relationships
I love me a good romance in a story. Who doesn’t? Even books aimed at men have a romantic angle in their stories. But what about the best friend, the parent, the sibling, the new friend, the frienemy? This is just a handful of the most basic relationships out there. In The Golden Compass, Lyra befriends Iorek Byrnison, a king of a race of sentient bears. It’s a wonderfully unique relationship that was unexpected as well as creative. I want writers to not only portray these relationships though but explore, grow and evolve them. Include a romantic relationship too, but let’s focus on other just as meaningful relationships too.
#5 – Love Triangle Options
A lot of readers want the way of love triangles to be banished to book hell never to be seen again. This is rather overly optimistic in my eyes. I’d love to see these types of relationships explored in more depth instead. There is no one perfect person for you. Hence the love triangle. A lot of what makes a couple work is that they are heading in the same direction in life. By choosing one guy over another you are saying I’m headed in that direction. So it stands to reason just as females have more than one option that the males do too. Let’s give the men in love triangles options too. Not the token ex-girlfriend but real live, lovely protagonist equals whom the men can realize are standing in the wings nearby. You might not agree with Twilight, but Stephanie Meyers was smart to see that there could be other options. (Before anyone land-blasts me I’ve only read the first book and some of the second. This is conjuncture based upon what I’ve heard about later books – still it’s a good idea!)
#6 – Male Protagonists
I love me a female protagonist. As a woman I want to read about other women. Not all the time though. I really enjoyed getting the male perspective in Variant. It’s not the most well written book but what it had going for it was a male protagonist. As a woman I’d also really love to read about the male point of view. Not as some superior, macho action man but as a human being that might see things different from me because his concerns aren’t my concerns. Variant was fascinating because the protagonist switches from liking one girl to another and it was really different from how a woman would have written it.
#7 – Obscure Historical and Cultural Times
One of my favorite time periods is Egypt during the pyramids. There are some mysteries set in Egypt but not much else. One middle grade series that everyone should read is Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. It’s set pre-WWI and focuses on a girl whose parents run a Museum of Egyptian artifacts. Not only are we exploring the early 1900s but we get so much on Egyptian culture. I’d love to see more books with obscure time periods and cultures. They could be books that explore African culture, Asian sensibilities or life during the Black Plague – anything that doesn’t already have a shelf of books on the same time and cultures. (As an aside, I don’t want dry historical texts or dense cultural explorations. Make them easy to read with some unique angle and a little romance and relationship angst.)
#8 – Strong Narratives
As a writer I know right away when craft is important to an author. I sink into the story and don’t come up for air for two days. (Two days is the approximate length of time it takes me to read a really well written book!) When I started The Hunt I was really worried it was just another vampire book and in a way it is, but it’ll blow your mind anyway, even if you don’t enjoy the rest of the series. The narrative is so strong in the first book that you are pulled, unwillingly even, into the story – you don’t even know the kid’s name! You experience his world from his unique point of view because the narrative was so well written.
#9 – Multiple Point of Views
I must be more equal opportunist than other readers. I love to see things from multiple point of views. The thing I really loved about The Scorpio Races was seeing the water horses from both Puck and Sean’s point of views. It doesn’t have to be limited to guy-girl either, or even opposing opinions but let’s concentrate on some really strong narratives. I love being able to open a book and know right away whose head I’m inside of. No names at the start of a chapter for me. Let’s explore strengthening skills so that our characters really shine as individuals. Readers will thank you as well when they come away with a powerful understanding of the strength of a strong narrative.
#10 – Less Boring Stories
All the books that I’ve listed in this post are books that I became engaged in the story, for whatever reason, and was able to read to the end of the story. Yes, yes, I know everyone is over the hate, but I’m not hating on anyone. I just want a story to keep me interested, is that so much to ask? Wow me with point of view. Shock me with the humanity of character. Keep me going all night following plot. Fangirl me with more showing and smarter telling. Rarely are we able to knock out a perfect 100% book. There are too many deadlines and not enough experience let alone time to go around. The least we can do is keep the story engaging.