5th Wave Author Says His Book Is Better Than The Hunger Games

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Answers by Rick Yancey, author of The 5th Wave series, on Quora.

A: It's better! Just kidding. All three series star a young female protagonist struggling against nearly impossible odds. That's about where the similarities end. Total disclosure here: I read THG only after I finished the first 5th Wave book and I still haven't gotten around to Divergent. It's hard to avoid commentary and comparisons between the three; but I have always focused on my story and have not concerned myself much with how it might compare to others. The necessity of plot and structure and character occupy my thoughts, not how the 5th Wave may stack up to other works.


A: I try to pretend I don't have it. Then I usually try to write through it. I've spent hours and days on something I'm pretty sure will never see the light of the publishing day, but I push on anyway, knowing that something will eventually come of it. I'm blessed in that I really, really like the act of writing, putting good sentences together, finding unique voices with which to write. Sometimes a good story grows out of that, sometimes not. I strive to focus on the former.


A: Read what you like, not what you think you should. We learn to write like we learn to talk. Talking is complicated, so is writing, and like any complicated skill, it takes patience and trial-and-error. Your writing will be derivative at first, because you will be mimicking, just like you mimic Mom and Dad when you're learning to talk. Gradually, oh so gradually, you will begin to find your own voice, the unique writer inside. Don't be hard on yourself; understand this is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't be afraid to share your work - but only when you have made it as perfect as possible. Finally, don't aspire to write something really good. Dream of creating something spectacularly GREAT. It's the only way you're going to get better. Push yourself. Be hard on yourself. Don't accept mediocrity. Don't throw up your hands if there's a problem and you don't know how to fix it. IT'S YOUR JOB AS A WRITER TO FIX IT.

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