A guide to YA fiction: Hunger Games Edition
Do: Create a fairly complex alternative or future earth society featuring amazing technology and an significant technology and wealth gap between those with the most and those with the least.
Do not: Fail to build a culture of the larger society that jibes with the smaller.
Do: Cast your entire story with entirely unlikeable flat characters, so long as there are one or two minor characters who are endearing, but equally as flat, to keep the reader interested.
Do not: Kill and or dismiss those characters early in the story.
Do not: Fail to really flesh those characters out beyond the most basic “good and pure” archetypes.
Do Not: Make hunting so easy! Even if you’re really really good at it, sometimes you can’t just go out and catch two rabbits and a fat squirrel just because you’re that awesome.
Do: Put your characters into grueling, fight-for-their-life situations where everything seems impossible and there seems to be no way out.
Do not: Bring that situation to an incredible climax with your heroes standing on top of a giant thanksgiving cornucopia surrounded by werewolf clones of their previously defeated enemies. I mean, really?
Do: End the story with a dramatic self-sacrifice on the part of one or both of the major characters.
Do not: Fail to pull the trigger on that self-sacrifice.
Do not: Suddenly turn your heroic bad-ass into a sniveling love-sick puppy dog.
Do: End on a cliffhanger so I have to read the next book, even though, really, who cares?
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