A few days ago I read a quote from an author somewhere that there’s nothing wrong with writing to a formula, that it’s what you bring to the formula that makes a great story. I’m annoyed that I didn’t pay more attention to the source, the university student in me is appalled at my lack of referencing but what they said struck me as interesting. There’s often a sense that formulaic writing is somehow lazy or unimaginative, but all stories have a formula. Each has a beginning, a middle and an end. There is a point of conflict, sometimes a resolution. Some of my favourite novels have followed formulas. Life often follows the same pattern, so why shouldn’t novels? When a story surprises us it’s because it goes against the conventions of the genre and the novel. A writer can follow a formula and bring something new to it at the same time.
That’s not to say it always works out, and while I was reading Red Queen there were elements of the story that felt fresh and interesting, but I felt as if it was something I’d read before. Continue reading “REVIEW: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard”