Sunday, April 21, 2013

Accepting the challenge...

Several years ago at the Spinning Gold Children's Writers and Illustrators Conference in Wellington (2009 to be exact) a visiting Australian Agent said that taking an author to a Book Fair was like taking a cow to an abattoir. I thought, at first, that she was witty and clever and believed her. But even then I was suspicious. Why should Book Fairs be that unwelcoming to authors? And to suggest authors are like cows, unsuspecting of their fate, and too dull to act on their own behalf is demeaning. Of course the comment wasn't original either. And then yesterday I read this. Of course, I don't need another excuse to want to go to a major overseas book fair - but if nothing else I want to thumb my nose at that cheap throwaway statement. Guess I better start saving now.

 Some years ago I began a fantasy YA story with medieval, feudal undertones and a love triangle - the crown prince, his bastard brother and the enigmatic village girl with secrets. And then The Hunger Games taught me that love triangles are guaranteed to piss off 50% of your audience when the hero/heroine finally decides who they will pair up with (no one has been progressive enough to conclude with a menage a trois yet). Or it will end badly as in Ketchup Clouds (although I so love this book). This thought was a tad off-putting. Alienating half your readers is not a good aim. It seemed like the kiss of death (pun intended). But today it occurred to me that there is a challenge here: a challenge to make the triangle believable and then still make the majority of the audience agree with the hero/heroine's pick. Is it possible? It's certainly worth a try.

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