The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Higher standards for books, please

By Tristian Evans/entertainment editor

The success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians has inspired other authors to begin writing books for young adults. Even big names such as John Grisham and James Patterson have capitalized on the genre.

Rowling, Meyer and Riordan, according to interviews, started with ideas they were passionate about. They didn’t know if their books would be successful or profitable.

Last November, New York magazine wrote about the book packaging company Full Fathom Five. James Frey, who was scolded by Oprah for fictionalizing parts of his autobiography A Million Little Pieces, spoke of his company’s goal to produce the next Twilight. The company’s most successful work has been I Am Number Four, which Frey wrote under the pen name, Pitticus Lore, with another writer. 

Frey told the magazine he wants to produce ideas that will sell. He recruits English majors from prestigious colleges and hires them to write the stories.

I hate the idea of book packaging companies. A company coming up with an idea, hiring someone to write the story and then selling it to a publisher takes away from the intimacy of the book.

Maybe I’m romanticizing the novel-writing process, but knowing that blood, sweat and tears went into the story makes me feel like writers put their all into it. Their passion shines through in the finished product.

Frey seems to believe teenagers will read anything with supernatural creatures and forbidden romance. As long as the high concept’s there, it doesn’t have to be well-written or have a meaning or theme. As with any trend, eventually teen readers will tire of the “high-concept” story and want a little more substance. Harry Potter may have been fantasy, but within it were themes of love, betrayal, family and redemption, which were more interesting than the magic and monsters.

Frey and writers like him shouldn’t underestimate teen readers’ ability to detect when they are being fed the same garbage. Such attitudes could prove their undoing.

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