Sunday, February 02, 2014

I wonder how hard it would be to write a sci-fi novel for the whole family...

I'm rather proud of the Cynos Union series, but then, I suppose I should be, because it's my baby. 'Tis the first ever book series I've published, after all, and like they always say, you never forget your first. It took me a long time to be able to say it (crippling self-esteem issues are always fun), but I'm proud of what I've achieved with the Cynos Union, and pre-emptively proud of what I'll achieve with it next.

However, while the Cynos Union series is many things, what it's categorically not is "suitable for younger readers".

There's entirely too much effin' and blindin' for that (which was bound to happen since the main characters are mostly salt of the earth Yorkshire sorts), not to mention the odd evisceration, and it's for that reason that each and every Cynos Union book comes with a disclaimer in the front-matter, saying that it's for mature readers only. But what if I went for a book that didn't need that disclaimer?

Basically... writing a young adult/teen fiction novel that the whole family can enjoy: how hard can it be?

Well, other than the obvious challenge of not swearing (ask anyone who knows me IRL, as the kids today say, and they'll tell you that I swear a lot), I don't reckon that it'd be any different to writing a Cynos Union book. Y'see, I'm conscious of the way the great Terry Pratchett seems to write kids' books, and the way he does it just makes so much sense to me.

If you read the Tiffany Aching books, and compare them to the main Discworld series, you'll see that there's not actually much difference between them. So far as I can tell, his method for writing kids' books is "cut out the swearing, and don't have too many sub-plots", which logically means that the best way to write a kids' book is to not treat them like idiots. None of this "See Spot run" nonsense, or girls being princesses, getting rescued by the dashing hero. As far as I can tell, it's the same thing with J.K. Rowling, as well (even if I've never actually read any Harry Potter).

So, if I were to write a book ostensibly aimed at younger folk, that the whole family can enjoy, what might it be like?

Well, for starters, it wouldn't be a fantasy book. Pratchett and Rowling have got that area nicely sewn up, so I don't reckon there's an awful lot I could write that'd even come close to competing with the way they play around with the genre's inherent tropes. Thus, fantasy book, no, not happening.

In that case, how about a science fiction series for the whole family? After all, sci-fi comes with its own raft of tropes that are just begging to be lampooned and toyed about with. On top of that, if I were to ever do a series for younger readers, I can pretty much guarantee what the tone would be.

Think "80s Saturday morning cartoon", because one, it'll bring the gosh-gee-whizz excitement needed to keep younger readers interested, and two, it'll bring enough winking knowingness to keep people my age interested.

Also, three, I'm a child of the 80s, and they're my books...

Hmm, y'know, I reckon I might have to try my hand at this fiction for younger readers business, one day. After the rigidly plotted out Cynos Union series (events in-universe are already planned out for around the next three centuries; I like to plan ahead), I reckon it could be a whole heap o' fun to take a trip into a universe that's governed entirely by the rules of Saturday morning cartoons, which is to say, by doing whatever seems most awesome at the time.

Now that could be fun.

One day, baby, one day...

The ever-expanding and growing Cynos Union Series is available to buy now! Subscribe for more news from the world (and brain) of Mark W. Bonnett! 

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