Writing for the Intellectual

Years ago I tried to read the Twilight series because people kept telling me how awesome it was. I was unable to do so. I found it poorly written and the story line lacking. Even if I could get past the sparkly vampires, I could not get past the grammar. To me, it reads as if it were written by a preteen.

Recently, I have heard two different arguments, one for and one against, in regards to that style of writing. The first is that the story was written for preteens, so it should be written at their level. The second is that most people who read are likely on the more intellectual side so books should be written with that in mind, rather than being dumbed down.

As someone who was an avid reader from a young age, I can’t help but agree with the second argument. Fiction is meant to be engaging and entertaining. A good fiction writer will capture the readers attention and draw them in. As such, a book for twelve year olds should not be filled with words that they do not understand. It should not pull them out of the story and constantly be sending them running for a dictionary. But what parent wants their kid to read a book that teaches them poor grammar? Books should still be written with grammar in mind. And a good book can be written in a way that teaches teenagers new words. I learned the word ‘glower’ by reading fantasy novels. I never learned it in school, but I was able to use the context in the book to understand the meaning of ‘glower.’ That is one major advantage of reading. Children learn a lot from the books that they read, and that should be considered when a book is written for a younger audience.

Because of how much of an effect a book can have on a child, I cannot accept the argument that bad grammar is acceptable because of the young age of the audience. I have to agree that books should be written for the intellectual, and for the intellect.

2 responses to “Writing for the Intellectual

  • Jesse LaJeunesse

    I read a great article on writing YA fiction once that said that when writing teenagers, it’s fine to have them sound like adults as long as they act like teenagers. I think this is a really good point. At all ages, we want to read fluid, engaging prose. The prose shouldn’t be an obstacle to relationship between the reader and the narrative. It should either enhance them or get out of the way.


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