A recent post of mine had a WordPress-recommended “along the same lines” link that brought me back to a post I did last March about all the things I was tired of seeing in books I was reading. Then a couple of days ago on Twitter I caught a link to an article from the recent SCBWI Bulletin that was an update of an earlier list on the most over-used things in middle grade and YA.
While Joelle Anthony’s list has many things I agree with, I think the differences in our lists might represent the books we read. Clearly I don’t read as many books with girls as main characters, and I suspect my list leans more toward middle grade (a heavy influence in the year leading up to that post) where I suspect her list leans more toward YA.
Also, where Joelle is clear about saying that her list is not to be taken as a “never” list, I think I might still be leaning toward the “stop, now, please” end of the spectrum.
Joelle Anthony’s The NEW Red-Haired Best Friend article.
My post In Moratorium.
I think I will add one thing that isn’t on either list that has to do with the vogue of calling everything written in three lines with a meter of five syllables/seven syllables/five syllables haiku. This would be akin to defining a limerick as five lines with an AABBA rhyme scheme without mentioning its rhythms or the usual “twist” ending. The haiku isn’t simply about syllables, but about an observation made in two lines with a new awareness in the third (or vice versa); the haiku isn’t simply a sentence seventeen syllables that can be broken up, or a combination of sentences that are jammed into the structure. Most often, the most egregious of these haiku violators are aimed at a boy audience with subjects like zombies and pirates and just plain ol’ boy activity, done with a wink that says “Hey, kid, poetry can be FUN!” The problem is that it cheapens the haiku form, presents bad examples as good, and suggests that a reader doesn’t need to know the difference. All of that to say No more bad poetry fobbed off as haiku.
But don’t just take my word for it. Read everything and judge for yourself, as I always say.