Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Top 10 Tuesday || Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a new category every week!

This week we're looking at the top 10 things on my reading wishlist. Also known as, top 10 things I wish more authors would write about.

How long do you think this is going to take to turn into a list of my favourite fanfic tropes? (Spoilers: The answer is not long at all.)

1. Incidentally Queer Characters
I mentioned this yesterday in my review of Ash, but there is a criminal lack of good LGBT characters in fiction. Oh sure, there's a lot of terribly tragic narratives that deal with the fear of coming out, or death and disease, or discrimination. And it's not to say that those narratives aren't worthwhile--because they certainly are. But it's time for chick-lit/rom-com queer romances. It's time for queer dragonslayers and magic users and space pirates. It's time for a narrative featuring LGBT characters where, yes that is a facet of their identity, but really we're too busy paying attention to the epic quest we have to go on. Or what have you. I am so ready for this. In every genre. All the time. YA or adult. (Please recommend any and all books that do this immediately! I need more of this in my life.)

2. Female Character Diversity
The "trend" lately--and YA seems to be particularly guilty of this--is the "strong female character". Constantly on a quest to prove herself, she doesn't need a man, doesn't need rescuing and is often abrasive. Okay, that's cool, I get it. But not every female character has to be like that. 
Screw writing “strong” women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write complicated women. Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn’t need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks. THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people. (Source.)
See also this article. And enough of this. Give me diversity. Give me multi-dimensional female characters. Give me equal representation and Mary Sues and interesting, varied women.

3. Unconventional Romances
Okay, so I feel like this partially goes with #1, but it's mostly borne from my irritation with love triangles. YA is super bad for this because it feels like almost every book with some sort of romance in it has to have a love triangle. Who decided this was a requirement? And it's usually the same old female narrator can't pick between two boys. I will concede that sometimes this is done compellingly. Which, good, keep at it. But most of the time it's like, ugh can we just get back to the plot I don't even care.

There are a lot of ways this could be remedied to make it more compelling. Like, girl likes boy 1, boy 1 likes boy 2, boy 2 likes girl. Ta-dah, conflict. Or, hey, let's just get everyone to hook up.

Okay, so I realize that threesomes are probably out of the question in YA. But ugh, it would just solve so many problems. (I remember thinking this about Matched, since miraculously the two boys in question actually interacted with each other. That story would've been so much more compelling with threesomes.)

Anyway, I feel like New Adult fiction might be able to tackle this? And adult fiction, I guess. But I want to make it clear that this doesn't necessarily have to be explicit or erotic. Like, okay, there's nothing wrong with a steamy sex scene every now and then, but to my mind it doesn't really have to be treated any differently than your standard YA romance. Like, PG-13 threesomes.

Have I scared you all off? I feel like I'm way out there on this TTT and I'm just rambling. Oops!

4. Reincarnation/Soulmates/Destiny
... This is 110% Sailor Moon's fault. It's funny, isn't it, looking back on your formative years and realizing how much that media shaped your current preferences?

And to be clear, I don't mean this as a plug for the insta-love trope. That bothers me as much as the next person. But there's something to be said about that connection between characters. Or a shared history and past. That feeling of "I know you..."

UGH. Send help. I will (and have) read mediocre fiction on this premise. It is my biggest indulgence. I love it so.

5. Identity Reveals
This is also Sailor Moon's fault. But ugh, I just have this huge thing for characters with multiple personas who know each other but haven't put two and two together yet. And then, predictably in a big crisis moment all is revealed and it changes everything.

And yes, there is usually a romance element here too. But I can't even explain what this does to me when it's done right. It's just so glorious. Dramatic irony at its finest.

Superhero stuff tends to do this often and occasionally well. I just need more of it all the time.

6. More POC characters
If there's a theme to this post, it's representation. Give me diversity!

7. Standalones
Series are all well and good, but sometimes I don't think they're always necessary? It'd be nice to read a contained plot--beginning, middle and end--and be satisfied. Not everything has to be a trilogy for crying out loud!

8. Diverse settings
One of the most eye-opening things I've learned in recent years is about the so-called Dark Ages. A not so spectacular time for most of Western Europe, but it was a time of great enlightenment and prosperity in the Muslim world.

Give me historical fiction with those kinds of settings. Show me alternate histories and timelines without Europe/American at the centre. Write more sci-fi/fantasy based on different mythologies. I mean, I love me some Greco/Roman/Norse myths, but there's so much more than just that!

9. More mythology inspired works
I feel so strong about this I think it needs it's own category. This predominately comes from the fact that I read The Song of Achilles last year and just loved it. I was familiar enough, in passing, with The Iliad to get the basics, but it was still immensely enjoyable on its own. It was a solid retelling of the myth without me actually having to wade through The Iliad.

So more of that, please. Retelling, reinvention, reimaginings. More myths!

10. Less unnecessary romance
I feel like I need to offset my insanity from earlier in this list by clarifying that while I am all for unconventional romances in fiction, that not everything needs to have romance in it either.

A boy character and a girl character who are just friends? GASP. Or whatever. I get it. And as much as I might play cynic, I really am a sucker for a good romance. But don't force it. Please don't force it. And please for the love of everything that is good in this world stop playing creepy and abusive behaviour off as romantic. No. No no no no no. Enough.

Do it right. Do it differently. But don't feel like you have to do it all the time. There are other vehicles to drive your plot.


Well. That certainly turned into something, didn't it?

Please feel free to throw some recs my way! And link me to your TTT!