Monday, May 2, 2011

Writing Dilemma

I have finished the first draft of my YA novel, under contract to Viking, and immediately ran into a dilemma. The climax does not seem dramatic enough. I can make it more dramatic -- but only at the cost of less plausibility in my near-future scenario. So which matters more -- increased drama or greater plausibility?

Reading recent, successful YA fiction, it seems that drama trumps plausibility. I did not buy the premises of either THE HUNGER GAMES or LITTLE BROTHER (see ancient blogs for reasons), yet both were best sellers. LITTLE BROTHER, like my (still untitled) novel, is set just a year or two in the future. It seems to me that the closer you get to present day, the more critical is believability. Rewriting my ending would still preserve psychological plausibility -- that is, all my characters would still act in character. But it would also verge closer to melodrama.

I might do it anyway. Still deciding.

7 comments:

Dan said...

Greater plausibility. Just my 2¢.

Scott said...

I'm reading more YA fantasies right now (Tamora Pierce specifically) more for the mechanics, rather than the storyline (she's too simplistic to me, but full of dramatic scenes). My adult half would agree, and say keep it more plausible, however, I think that drama might sell more books. If you're writing these under a pseudonym, as I think you've mentioned, why not go out on a limb and try doing something different from what you'd normally do? As a past neophyte editor, I'd say give it to Viking as is, but work on an alternate ending, and let your editor know you have one if she/he wants to see it.

pchan said...

I seem to be primarily noticing authors not buying the premises of those stories, with the general public apparently lapping it up. Perhaps the YA readers haven't developed their critical faculties sufficiently to tell whether a premise is plausible or not, or perhaps they just don't care?

For this reason, I would go with drama over plausibility, even though I personally would prefer plausibility.

Brendan said...

A lot of the fantasy and some SF I have read recently which is NOT labeled YA has stretched plausability limits until they cracked(and then some), so while it is great this is something you are worried about, I would reccomend going for it. If you can leave off before the conclusion reaches insanity, you will probably be okay.

Phoebe said...

Rabid YA reader/reviewer (as well as a writer of YA spec-fic). Please give us more plausibility. Implausible YA sci-fi doesn't do the genre any favors, and from what I've noticed, as more "dystopian" YA floods the market, readers are starting to pick up on this kind of thing.

Bryan H. Bell said...

I can make it more dramatic -- but only at the cost of less plausibility

My (adult) vote would be for greater plausibility, but is it necessarily true that you can't have both? This is easy for me to say, 'cause I'm not writing it, but could you push yourself to find an alternative that maintains plausibility while still heightening the drama? I bet that'd feel good if you figured out a way to do it.

Chris said...

Plausibility vs drama ... how can anyone have a true opinion without knowing the specifics?