November 11th, 2009

What do teens want to read?

At least, what do teens who are already readers want to read? Teensread.com has conducted surveys since 2005. One takeaway: Make sure the copy on your book’s jacket is enticing. “[B]ook copy was the most important factor that would make teens pick up a book. A stunning 91% saw this as the most important influence. The cover was important to 79%. The next most important influence, with 77%, was familiarity with an author's previous work; 74% were looking for the next book in a series. For 73%, the title was important.”

You can read the whole survey yourself here.



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How other writers write

I suspect every author has a different approach, tailored just for them, but the Wall Street Journal talked to some well-known novelists about how they write.

On author's trick is this: "Since his novels are written in the first person, the voice is crucial, so he "auditions" narrators by writing a few chapters from different characters' points of view. Before he begins a draft, he compiles folders of notes and flow charts that lay out not just the plot but also more subtle aspects of the narrative, such as a character's emotions or memories."

And then there's this: "When he's in the middle of a novel, Colum McCann sometimes prints out a chapter or two in large font, staples it together like a book, and takes it to Central Park. He finds a quiet bench and pretends he's reading a book by someone else. Other times, when he's re-reading a bit of dialogue or trying to tweak a character's voice, he'll reduce the computer font to eight-point Times New Roman. "It forces me to peer at the words and examine why they're there."

You might find some approaches you could borrow here.



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