Sunday, June 5, 2016

Writing With a Formula?

Note: Please don't read this post if you want massive spoilers for The Unexpected Everything, Since You've Been Gone, Second Chance Summer, or any of Rick Riordan's novels.

I just finished The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and although I found myself grinning happily during many parts and satisfied enough with the ending, something was tugging at me as I went to rate it 5 stars on Goodreads. Which lead me to staring at the computer screen for about 5 minutes, then marking it as read, but not giving it a rating. 

I had suspected what was going to happen right around the middle, but I had shoved that thought away in hopes that it wouldn't actually happen. But it did, and after I finished, I thought about the three books of hers that I had read, and I realized that each of fit into a formula. 

This is the formula: A shy but pretty girl finds herself without anything to do during the summer. She finds a cute, nice guy and they start hanging out. Something drastic happens, and the girl breaks up with the guy, and they get back together at the end. 

See, when I first read Since You've Been Gone, my first Matson book, I thought that the story was brilliant. But after finishing The Unexpected Everything, I was expecting the breakup to happen, that it wasn't as good as before. In fact, the moment Andie stepped into Clark's house the day the breakup happened, I already knew what was going to happen.

Another author who uses a formula is Rick Riordan. Riordan's novels are classified as  "middle grade" which is somewhat of an excuse for its simplicity, but as I grew older, I started realizing that a formula was, in fact, present. Wanna know it? A teen who doesn't know anything about the mythical world accidentally stumbles into one (minus Trials of Apollo, which I've only read like 50 pages of) and they have to go on a quest to save the world. Somehow, they luck out and save the world without dying. Yay!!

I'm not saying that using a formula is bad, as Morgan Matson and Rick Riordan are two of my favorite authors ever. However, I do appreciate an author who goes out of their typical comfort zone and writes something different (Marie Lu, Rainbow Rowell). But seriously, is using a formula the best case? Let me know down below!


  1. "Save the world without dying?" Does Magnus Chase count?

    1. well, that may be an exception, but he was dead for most of the book, and didn't die in the underworld, so perhaps?