The TCWT blog chain, by John over at Teens Can Write, Too!, explores a different question each month, and for January, it's:
I ran out of clever headlines, so let's get right to it:
Written well: worldbuilding
I rarely fail to get absolutely sucked into fictional worlds. Or even fictional depictions of our world. There is obviously the ultimate worldbuilding master, Tolkien, wherein Middle-earth is mind-bogglingly complicated, but I honestly rarely read books where the worldbuilding was shallow that it detracted the story.
Some of my favourite worlds, other than LotR: A Song of Ice and Fire, the Night Circus, His Dark Materials, the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Gates of Thread and Stone. Goodness me, I spent weeks after finishing them just imagining the entire world and searching for fanart and aargh.
Written poorly: diversity
This is actually improving by a lot - the rise of movements like #WeNeedDiverseBooks has led to much more awareness on this issue. Whether as writers or readers, I feel we should keep in mind the importance of diverse representation. As an Asian (which, I admit, is technically not a minority), it makes me really happy to see Asian characters.
But one of the things I wish would be more prevalent is diversity in setting. When I was starting my writing life, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why the worldbuilding sucked. And it's because I based my stories off other books I read - set in America or Western Europe - while living in an Asian city. I wish so desperately we could see stories set not just in the West, but also in Asia. And not just our capitals, our ports.
Showcase Chongqing, Tianjin, Chang'an, those forgotten cities. Adventure novels that span Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand. And other faraway places - Africa and South America and Eastern Europe deserve much, much more attention.
What are some of the things you find written well or poorly? Any books with diverse representation you'd like to recommend? If you're in the chain, do drop a URL and date so I'll remember to come by! And don't forget to check out all the other lovely posts:
11th – http://kirabudge.weebly.com/