Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Deal With DNFs | Book Blogging Tips (#29)

We've all had it and we all dread it. DNF-ing a book is probably one of the worst things to happen to a book blogger. 

But sometimes you just don't want to finish a book and that's perfectly okay. 

What is a DNF?
A DNF is a book you did not finish for what reason ever.

Why It's Okay
Not all books are for everyone. 
You have to think like this: If you're forcing yourself to finish every single book you start, you'll miss out on a lot of great books while you're stuck reading the shitty ones. Life is too short to torture yourself with bad literature. Don't feel bad because your taste doesn't match with every single thing you read.

I've even DNF-ed books and afterwards went on to ask a friend who read it about what happened next. If you simply don't feel like the writing clicks with you - don't read it. You're under no obligation to finish any book.

When to DNF
  • You don't have any enthusiasm left for the book, you're dreading every page you have to read. When is it over again?
  • You dislike the characters so much that you've just stopped caring about their journey
  • The author pulls an unforgiveable faux-pas
  • The plot is too graphic, too emotional, too violent etc. for your taste
  • Poor langugae makes you have to guess what the author is trying to tell you
  • Copy cats: Haven't you seen this somewhere else? 

As you see, there are millions of reasons to DNF a book. If yours is not on this list I'm not even surprised. You can DNF for thousands of reasons and every single one is a justified and perfectly okay reason to.

What if it's an ARC?

Actually, most publishers I've worked with state in a the package leaflet that it's okay if you dislike a book. You don't even have to DNF it- if you flat out change your mind about wanting to read a review copy , you should send your contact an email. 

Most publishers are very considerate. You can even send the copy to another blogger for review and inform your industry contact. You don't even have to be specific as to why you didn't want to read the review copy after all. Just be respectful and state that the book wasn't for you.

With review copies though I have a minimum of 50 pages for every book to get me hooked. Don't DNF if you've only read ten pages, especially not with review copies, that's just disrespectful. 

How do you handle DNFs?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them | YA Talk

What is a Mary Sue?

The term originated from fan fiction I guess. It typically refers to characters who are beautiful, loved by everyone, super powerful, super smart, but usually don't recognize their beauty.

They're loveable because they're sometimes even insecure, but they can kick everyone's butts if they wanted to. Also, every guy that meets them falls in love with them.

Mary Sues typically also have:

  • a super tragic backstory
  • a hidden talent/skill that makes them special
  • been "chosen" by a higher power to be the only savior/ are the only person who can resolve the plot
  • an exotic hair or eye color that makes them stand out
Readers always joke about Mary Sues, but in fact they do still exist in YA. The thing is, most people don't seem to realize that their favorite novel involves a Mary Sue heroine.

Typical Criticism and Why I'm not having any of it

1. They are self-inserts of the reader, even author, into the story

They don't really have a personally besides being flawless and perfect, almost inhumanly perfect.

... so? The term self-insert implies that it's easy to identify with them. There's a lot of characters that I think don't have a personality and still are the driving forces of big franchises. We all want to identify with the main character when we're reading. Because we're all different, it's absolutely impossible to please everyone. So of course the books with less opinionated characters are more likely to appeal to the masses. It's easy to interprete if the author is vague about their portrayals.

2. They're an unrealistic reflection of everything that everyone wants be: beautiful, popular, perfect, strong and loved. 

And that's hella good! We want to read about the things we don't have. Reading is a way of escapism! We want to travel to places that we'll never see, we want to read about situations that we'll never experience. So yeah, for once we want to read about someone that has it all, is popular and loved and beautiful.

3. They're the result of very poor writing.

You can have a Mary Sue main character and still built a kick-ass world and have a great plot. Best example? Caelena Sardothien from "Throne of Glass".  If you've read the book, take a moment to think about it yourself and then we'll talk.

Actually: We need more Mary Sues

Being called a Mary Sue is neither a death sentence nor an insult. There are some characters that are wildly loved by everyone who reads certain books and to me, they're absolute Mary Sues. I'm not going to call names, but there's a lot of undercover Sues that people don't even recognize. They look up to them, especially female characters that are great at fighting, beautiful and getting all the attractive guys.

Featuring unapologetically strong and kick ass female characters has been a recent trend. I mean if you look the most popular movie -to-book film adaptations you'll rarely encounter female characters that are strong, beautiful and super scary while still being feminine. The fact that the term Mary Sue is mostly used to refer to female characters and points out character flaw that have existed for YEARS in literature (not only YA) with male main characters is just flat out ridiculous.

Just look at popular action movies and characters like Indiana Jones, Chuck Norris, Superman, Batman - all those guys are classic Gary Stus and these are only the most popular ones. If you think in terms of movies, I can hardly tell you a single Mary Sue character in a similar franchise. It's a blessing that it's become a trend in YA to show merciless fighter-type heroine main characters and I am absolutely in favor or bringing all those books to the big screen and finally getting some gender equality in the medium.

So yes, I want more Mary Sues. Do you?

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