I always carry a notebook with me, and this day at the bookstore was no different. I usually jot down titles I want so I can research them more or put them on hold at the library or whatever.
This particular trip, however, something struck me. Who's telling the story? Who tells the story has always interested me, so much that I've read over my notes from writing conferences on this very subject.
I'm very comfortable writing in first person (three novels done in first person), and I absolutely adore present tense (one in third person, present tense). But I'm trying to stretch myself both as a reader and a writer. Well, maybe not too much stretchage. I still pretty much only read (and write) YA paranormal / fantasty / science fiction.
So here are the novels I was considering and I jotted down who's telling the story. I'm calling this market research instead of Elana-is-the-biggest-geek-on-the-planet. So stick with that, okay?
1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: First person / present
2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: Third person / past (multiple narrators)
3. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King: Third person / past
4. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: First person / present
5. I.Q. by Roland Smith: First person / past
6. SilverFin by Charlie Higson: Third person / past
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: First person / present
8. Need by Carrie Jones: First person / present
9. The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld: First person / present
10. Feed by M.T. Anderson: First person / past and present (Can I just say that I l-o-v-e this approach? I can, cuz it's my blog. And this is what I do in Control Issues. Looove it. ETA: And you can see what I mean by this by clicking here. Not a link clicker? Well, that's the announcement saying I won a runner-up prize in MSFV's secret agent contest! Then you can click on mine and read the first 250 words that [literary agent] Ms. Kate Schafer Testerman liked enough to request to see the first five chapters! It's now a Squeeeee! day!)
Market Research Findings:
- Out of these ten YA novels, which I know is an extremely small sample size, 7 of them are written in first person, 3 in third person. That's a wow-moment right there.
- 5 (and part of a sixth) of them are written in present tense. Hmm...is this a new trend? I can think of a few other books that are present tense (A Great and Terrible Beauty, for one) or first person (The Hollow).
- I have actually only read 1 1/2 of these books, I merely flipped them open and read the first page or so to see who was telling the story. My husband sets a time limit when we go to the bookstore. No, really. He does.
So, since my "market research" I'm seriously considering who's going to tell my next story. I'm leaning toward a first person / present tense story, but that won't work with the sequel to Control Issues. So I may be going all chick lit on you, which sort of seems to lend itself to first person / present tense. Who knows?
But here is a question you should know the answer to: Who tells your story? How do they do it? Why did you choose them?