Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Books, Videogames and Pacing

Publishers Weekly ran an article by 13-year old Max Leone about what teen boys want to read. Max is both eloquent and perceptive, and I found his article fascinating because I have had similar discussions with my sons. Max gives much quality information in his article, and I am commenting on just one aspect.

Max said he and his cohort like video game-style plots with lots of action and battles. I agree and add this caveat. Last summer when my sons and I happened to be home at lunchtime, we listened to an audio recording of a popular fantasy series. During a long and dull descriptive passage, Sam said, "This is where I would press Start." In other words, this is where Sam would move to an action sequence.

Teens are used to controlling the pacing of their entertainment. When the story gets boring, they expect to be able to jump ahead. If a novel drags, the reader can skip the offending passages or put the book down down and reach for the video game controller.

The bottom line is Keep The Story Moving.

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