Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Post: G.P. Ching {Author of The Soulkeepers}

 Today is Day 3 of the Indie Reads Appreciation Week and today we have G.P. Ching with us!

G.P. Ching is debut author of The Soulkeepers, a YA paranormal novel available March 21, 2011 from DarkSide publishing.  

Cliché vs. High Concept in Young Adult Literature

I know Sarah has a diverse readership from all over the world, so I'm going to throw out two definitions just so that we are all on the same page.

Cliché: an overused idea, character, or plot that renders a story superficial and predictable

High- Concept: an artistic work that has the potential for mass appeal because it can be easily described in just a few words and universally understood by a broad audience.

Publishers, writers, and readers often abhor cliché but love high-concept. Does anyone else see the obvious problem? If you write about topics that are universally understood, they are by definition not unique and therefore ripe for cliché.

Let's take for example the beloved vampire novel. There are certain things that make a vampire a vampire. They drink blood, they are undead, they can't tolerate sunlight, and they are super-strong and dangerous. So how do you write a vampire story where the reader can easily understand what your character is without being cliché?

If you're Stephanie Meyer, you create a compassionate vampire without fangs, who sparkles in the sunlight.

If you're Adam Rex, you make your vampire fat, dorky, and unpopular.

And if you're P.C. Cast, you have Vampyres living out in the open with humans.

But how far can you go before a vampire isn't a vampire? I've noticed the farther a writer gets from center, the fewer fans seem to connect with the work. And there are certain genres that rely on cliché. A romance where the two main characters don't fall in love would be disappointing to most readers.

I think authors walk a tightrope between cliché and high concept and that the secret to the second lies in the character. How readers connect emotionally with the novel determines if a work will be perceived as cliché or high concept. A vampire can be a vampire if the character is one readers love and miss at the end of the book.

What do you think, readers? Can you think of novels that have successfully attained high concept without being cliché?

FOLLOW G.P. Ching: Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching
available March 21st, 2011
When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother's car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can't find his mother's body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, Jacob's life feels out of control.

A beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, the biologically gifted warrior she swears he is.

He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother's disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva's motives for helping him.

1 comment:

Judy said...

This looks like a very good read. I will check it out!!


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