Do you write MG or YA? Do you think about the boys who will read your books? Do you know what they like in a book? Do you know what they hate?
I have access to 2 tween boys—who are avid readers and I thought I would share their minds a bit with you.
Here they are disguised in their Halloween costumes from last year. Napoleon Dynamite is 12 and in 7th grade and Scary Goblin is 10 and in 5th grade.
Me: What is your favorite book series and why?
Napoleon: Pendragon (by D. J. McHale) – It has tons of twists. It has suspense and romance. Action—lots of it. It’s funny and Bobby talks like a teenager.
Scary Goblin: Fablehaven (by Brandon Mull) – because I like the fantasy, adventure and how creative it is.
Me: Why do you stop reading a book?
Napoleon: Well, because things don’t happen as quickly as I think they should. They are boring because nothing happens. There should be at least something cool in every chapter.
Scary Goblin: Sometimes it feels too long, or you are just not into anymore because it is too long.
Me: What will make you stay up late at night reading ?
Napoleon: Probably if it’s good and really awesome. I get worried about the character so I need to know what happens. I’m reading and something pops up and then something else pops up and I need to know how it ends.
Scary Goblin: Sometimes comedy and adventure. I like the plot and the twists and stuff. Sometimes I can’t sleep.
Me: What is a mistake some authors make when writing for boys?
Napoleon: You need to have girls in the story too. Kind of to go along with the main character. Sometimes the book is too slow. I don’t like that.
Scary Goblin: Too much romance and not enough excitement.
Me: (I’m a little unsure what Scary Goblin is reading)
Me: If you could tell authors anything what would say.
Napoleon: There should be a little bit of romance in every book. Someone needs to do some action. Also books need to be a little bit funny. Make the main characters likeable.
Scary Goblin: Put a lot of excitement in your book. And at least one scary guy.
Napoleon: And lots of romance.
Scary Goblin: No, dude. No more romance or kissing.
There you have it (even with the conflicting romance answers :) If you have any questions you are dying to know the answer to, post them in the comments and I will ask my boys.
I’ve always believed love of reading is a matter of exposure. Since my boys were small we’ve read together. Once they were bigger I started to read chapter books to them at night. It took time and many nights I didn’t want to do it, but reading became an activity they looked forward to with anticipation. I figure I’ve read over 40 chapter books to my boys over the last 8 years.
So my advice to parents of boys (and girls)—READ! Expose them to books no matter how old or young they are :)