The Hunger Games: Is this writing’s future?

A title caught my attention as I scrolled through articles in Google Reader last night:

“Is the Hunger Games really the future of writing?”

Lev Raphael of the Huffington Post does not agree with popular blogger Jeff Goins, whose recent article¬† (“Why the Hunger Games is the Future of Writing”) has caused a stir in writing communities.

I have not read The Hunger Games, but I do have the book in my possession. My son snatched it up on Saturday and had finished it by Sunday afternoon. That evening he and his group of over-20 friends went to see it. Phenomenon, yes. Future of writing?

Goins’ reasons

In his article, Goins urges his readers to write like Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games. He argues that readers today are distracted by the internet and television; long prose won’t do the trick for them. Instead, he suggests, if modern writers want to be successful, they should “write short novels, in large fonts, with quick chapters. If you’re going to get people to read your content …, then you should consider doing the same.” People will stay engaged, says Goins, when the content is short, edgy, and hopeful.

Raphael’s rebuttal

Raphael is put off by Goins’ suggestion. The result of Goins’ advice, he believes, will be a slew of novels that are formulaic and badly written, resulting in “disappointed authors” who most likely won’t see the success of Collins. Raphael is rooting for books “that take us as far away from our current overly connected culture as possible,” ones that are “rich and deep and immersive.”

What do you think?

You don’t need to read The Hunger Games to understand what Jeff Goins is saying about today’s readers. It’s a fast tech world. On the other hand, does catering to the attention span of today’s youth culture contribute to a “dumbing down” of readers?

Read the articles (linked above) to get a full picture of what the authors are trying to convey. Be sure to let me know what you think.

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you like about it as a reader? What did you take away from it as a writer?


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4 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: Is this writing’s future?

  1. It’s a both / and. If you want to get the new readership to read anything, you may have to compromise. But you also want to write well enough to suck them back to the bright side! Longer, more complicated works.

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    1. That word “compromise” is a bit scary, but I hear what you’re saying. I started reading the book and I’m feeling this is more her style of writing than an attempt to capture “attention deficit” readers. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  2. I am not so sure it’s fair to use The Hunger Games as an example for all potential books as they were written for the YA genre. Kids in general have shorter attention spans, and I would agree that they are worse so these days.

    As an adult who read–and enjoyed–the books I will say that they were easy reads, page-turners, with a solid cast and plot. But to suggest going with a large font and shorter word count as a method of selling books? That is ridiculous. I still want quality over quantity. And yes, I think if we were to assume that people can only read short, brisk works then we aren’t challenging society to think, or to use their imaginations to the fullest extent.

    I actually think Collins is a pretty good writer, not just a good storyteller. And that’s the reason I stuck with the series. I have read “easy” books before, but if the writing is terrible, or weak, or dumbed-down, then I toss the book aside.

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    1. From what I read, Goins seems to be saying that ALL books, not just YA, should be written like THG. That’s what was so surprising. I agree with you about keeping up that challenge, despite what is going on around us or in cyberspace. But, if you read some of the comments in the Goins articles, several readers point out that Collins’ writing isn’t dumbed down — it’s more a reflection of the protagonist and how she thinks. I’ll find time to read it. Thanks for sharing your view!

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