During our time at Con-G, Death of the Author Reviews ran a Tropes in Teen Fiction panel. After going through the background information and history of the teen fiction trend, our group worked as a team to create the next best selling teen novel.
We had a few constraints, the major being: THIS NOVEL HAD TO SELL. Using the current trends of the teen section the group set to work. Without a second thought the group settled on paranormal romance.
What follows is the pitch.
The back of attractive teenage boy, he’s wearing a leather jacket. One arm is normal while the other has been replaced with a tentacle. He is looking over his shoulder, you can see his one eye, it is glowing. The grass around his feet is somewhat wilted.
Main Character: Clarice Enoby Bertran
- She’s a teenage girl (white and cisgender)
- She’s “unpopular”
- She’s really really pretty, but’s she’s convinced she’s average
- She’s “average”, meaning she’s relatable but she’s a little better at everyone else.
- She’s nice and quirky (she knits and she’s super interested in zenobiology)
SECOND CHARACTER: The Boyfriend – Po’yl (pronounced: Paul)
- He’s an alien
- He has a dark mysterious past (he’s an exiled prince and the last of his kind)
- He blames himself for the death of his people even though it was not his fault. He thinks if he had not been exiled he would have been able to save everyone.
- He doesn’t want to be with her because he’s too dangerous. He’s radioactive
- ALWAYS wears black leather
- Wears Michael Jackson gloves
- Doesn’t know anything about earth and he needs her to teach him
- His alternate form has tentacles.
THE ANTAGONIST – De6wy’d (pronounced David)
- He’s an alien from a different planet. He blew up the boyfriend’s planet
- He’s in disguise as a human, he’s a football playing jock
- He’s the first guy that the main character likes
- He turns good by the end of the novel and marries the main character’s daugther
- His alternate form is a blob (which is worse than tentacles, shows that he’s the bad guy)
THE BEST FRIEND: She was never named.
- She’s the head cheerleader
- Vapid, a little too obsessed with girly things like make-up and nails
- Always copies the main character’s homework. She sometimes switches names on tests with main character
- ALWAYS WEARS UGGS
- She’s an airhead
PLOT AND OTHER THINGS
- A space probe falls to the ground and the main character catches it. THIS IS NEVER EXPLAINED
- The Boyfriend needs it and the Antagonist wants it
- The Prince pretends to fall for her but then actually falls for her.
- OPTION ONE: The radiation kills her. The sickness narrative such as Jodi Picoult and Lurlene McDaniels.
- OPTION TWO: The radiation “kills her” but she wakes up transformed into an alien just like him, meaning they can be together forever.
- OPTION THREE: She has been an alien from his planet all along, and was tied to the destruction of the home world. Her memory has been wiped. This makes her immune to the radiation he is giving off. She finally realizes who she is and becomes an alien.
- OPTION FOUR: Time travel. His radiation gives her the ability to travel back in time and save the home world. But if she does this then the timelines might right themselves and they would never have met. This causes a lot of angst over their relationship.
This group effort definitely showcases the current trends and tropes in teen literature. It’s interesting how you can manage to tell the same story over and over but tweaking it just a little.
At the end of the panel there was talk about perhaps actually breathing life into this frankenstein monstrosity.
If you have any ideas or are willing to join a crack team of writers check out the forum here.