I saw a spoof trailer mash-up the other day called The Divergent Games that talks about the similarities between the most popular YA books today. And it made me really upset.
The video goes, ““In a world with ambiguously oppressive governments, in a vaguely distant future full of strange love triangles, a team will form.” “From great suffering came a solution.” “She’s the one they all talk about.” Basically, the formula is apocalypse + order + oppression + girl + boy(s) = YA.
But guess what, the formula itself is not a problem.
Every genre has a kind of formula. That’s kind of the point of a genre. Sci-fi has aliens and tech. Mystery has a murder that needs solved. Are we really going to say that the YA movies are somehow lower than the hundreds of romantic comedies with the same boy meets girl premise?
You know what I love? Fantasy. The fantasy formula? Magic + journey + hero who doesn’t know it + destiny + evil with an army and impending war. And guess what, I can read a hundred journeys and a hundred endings and that’s ok.
I realize that the trailer is made is jest. That’s the point. But it breeds a type of thinking that if you can’t do something completely original, don’t do it at all.
And that’s the worst thing you can do to a writer. It’s a morale killer. And I hate that.