Select Page

Remember Are You Afraid of the Dark? It was written by DJ McHale - and he’s back!! (He never really went away) EW has an interview with him around his new book, SYLO, including this:

How did being a TV writer inform the way you plotted the novel?

While TV and books are two totally different animals, in one way they are becoming maddeningly similar. With TV, thumbs are always on the remote control. If a show doesn’t grab your attention in a few seconds…CLICK! You’re gone. That’s why with television it’s important to grab a viewer’s attention with something compelling right up front and hope that it’s enough to get them to put the remote down. It’s not much different trying to get and hold the attention of young readers. You have to spark their curiosity in the first line, then the first paragraph and certainly the first chapter. If not, the book will get tossed. Using a TV term, I often write a “cold open” with my books. Since I write adventure stories it’s usually an action scene that is not only exciting, but will give the reader a taste of what’s in store. With SYLO, I did that twice! There are “cold opens” in both of the first two chapters. The hope is that once a reader is hooked, they will then allow the author to slow it down a bit and take the time to set the characters and the story. To be honest I don’t like to have to do that, but it has become necessary. I once read a review that a young person wrote of one of my books. It went something like: “This book was really slow to get started…but after the first ten pages it really took off.” Ten pages? Really? In that case I almost lost a reader because they weren’t engaged in the first minute of reading. It’s unfortunate, but a fact of life now.

It may be childhood nostalgia for the show talking, but I’m looking forward to it.

Read more about SYLO.