Sunday, July 7, 2013
So yesterday I had an online conversation with a fourteen-year-old kid about sports and reading, and stuff like that. He wanted to tell me that Winger was one of the best books he'd read in years.
He said that he doesn't usually read YA, and that, like I did when I was his age, he prefers adult fiction. I think there are an awful lot of boys like us out there, too.
The truth is, though, I'm pretty sure that most of the readers who've gotten into Winger in the last month-and-a-half since its publication have been adult readers.
I also told him--to be quite honest--that I don't read YA, either. (I will explain.)
And this made me think about something I've seen on a lot of writer's advice blogs, and even on advice tips from literary agents. The commonly expressed myth is this: If you want to write YA, you should read A LOT of YA.
Why should you not read A LOT of YA? Because then you'll be reading an awful lot of terrible stuff. The same is true for romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and so on: An awful lot of it is pretty awful.
If you want to write well, read A LOT of stuff that is good writing, no matter what it is.
So I do read YA, but not A LOT of it by any stretch, because I am very selective about what I want to spend my time with. I read more "adult" fiction, though, and currently I am reading the work of a brilliant American playwright. (I am still taking time OFF from writing.)