It’s a good time to think about what makes me love a book. This week I’ve been outlining Books 2 and 3. And rather than flounder around with a weak story and later have to mold it into something respectable, I’d rather create a solid outline, with a solid, surprising, wonderful story. Then when I revise, all I’ll have to tackle are line edits.

Because it’s that easy!

Okay, not really. But I’d like it to be slightly easier, so I’m working on a wish list of what I’d like to see in these books. As I outline, I refer to the wish list. Some parts of the wish list are specific: “A. worried that R. loves someone else.” Others are less specific: “Major supporting character dies here in valiant act.” And others are even less specific (that is, general): “Need cool setting.”

But, just in working with the general, here’s what I like to see in books (with select YA titles as examples):

  • humor (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan,Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock)
  • gorgeous prose (The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Gilt by Katherine Longshore, If I Stay by Gayle Forman)
  • strong voice (Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly)
  • tension (The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)
  • intriguing premise (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray)
  • unique setting (Feed by M. T. Anderson, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher)

How about I just buy extra copies of all those books, tear out the pages, turn the ceiling fan on really really high, then collect the pages and staple them together into a new book?

Because it’s that easy!


  1. Maggie · August 25, 2012

    I’d like to see more gorgeous prose and different voices; I feel like the main character’s voices in YA books are very similar.

    • Beth Hull · August 26, 2012

      I think for voice, all those I listed (even in other categories) are pretty distinct, but in some others I’ve read lately (which will not be named here), I can definitely see your point on the similar voices.

  2. PB Rippey · August 28, 2012

    I’m looking forward to reading some of these books. The wish list is a great idea. I will try that. And probably the ceiling fan part, too. Happy outlining!

    • Beth Hull · August 28, 2012

      Thanks, PB! I’m having a blast so far.

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