Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sorting the good WTF from the bad WTF

At the YA Buzz Panel at BEA, the editors up on stage were pimping their books of choice. Aside from indicating what created buzz (emotional impact, suspense and heat), they went into books that made them go, WTF? And then there was some branching into the books that had good WTF? moments that had them reading on and bad WTF? moments that had them saying no thanks.

For me, good WTF? -

A 12-year-old getting picked for a game to play to the death . . .

Bad WTF? -

Edward giving new meaning to the term, "eating out" . . .

The difference between good WTF? moments and bad WTF? moments are your reaction and whether it makes you want to read on or potentially hurl in the corner of your room. The good WTF? moment the panel gave was for The Maze Runner. The story starts with a character in a black box that's lifting like an elevator and opens in a maze. That will probably have you going WTF? but, chances are, you're going to want to keep reading to find out WTF is going on, right?

The panel didn't actually give specific examples of bad WTF? but let's keep with the Twilight theme here since Breaking Dawn had so many of those moments.

So, bad WTF? moments that might have you running away screaming? Bella's spine breaking. WTF? Edward eating the hellspawn right out of Bella's uterus. WTF? Jacob "The Pedophile" Black falling in love with the newborn hellspawn. WTF? The mean, badass vampires ending the pay-per-view fight of the century by talking things out. WTF? If you're not reaching for some kind of incendiary device by now, you have a stronger will than I do.

So what books had good WTF? and bad WTF? moments for you? And do you agree with Arthur Levine that the three elements of buzz are emotional impact, suspense and heat? What other elements of a book could generate the same kind of buzz?

12 comments:

ralfast said...

One of those Bad WTF? mad me throw up in my own mouth.

And then it got worse....

Bianca said...

I agree with ralfast.

My God. That's a bad WTF moment, if there ever was one.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I think Breaking Dawn really topped the WTF moments. It kills me that my sister, mother, and a few other people look at me like I'm the crazy one because I kept saying WTF is this?! while reading it.

Amber

Reverie said...

Killer unicorns... yes unicorns... that's a Good WTF and the book(Rampant) had done a GREAT job pulling it off.

Kristen said...

A good WTF I ran into was arms that glow when criminals come nearby and if those arms touch the criminals.. they melt... WTF! But good.. (Candle Man by Glenn Dakin).

If that sounds interesting, check out my contesttext.

prophecygirl said...

Breaking Dawn is just one big WTF? for me.

Donna said...

I haven't read a really good WTF? moment in a while. I need to get my hands on The Maze Runner because the way the panel talked about it, it sounds awesome.

ralfast said...

And I thought my vamps (I call them vamps for a lack of a better term) were psychotic and a bit disgusting, but nothing like this.

I think I used a good WTF moment (literally,I wrote WTF in the very first draft, spelled it out on subsequent drafts), when the MC gets a letter telling him that his dad kicked the bucket.

jessjordan said...

Um ... Edward ate the hellspawn out of Bella's uterus? WTF? Was that a dream, or did I block that moment from my WTF-Breaking-Dawn memory?

Donna said...

Jess, you've successfully blocked that part from your memory. I wish I was as lucky.

James Dashner said...

Hey, I'm honored to be categorized on the good WTF side. Thank you! Hopefully you and your blog readers will agree.....

Donna said...

Thanks, for stopping by, James! And I'm definitely looking forward to your book and all its WTF? goodness!

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