This author did so many things right, but I'll focus on my favorite writing lessons. (Alert! Read no further if you haven't read this book yet and don't want to know any plot points)
- Reader and main character question the story world together: Thomas, the main character, had no idea where he was or why he was sent there. He didn't know how old he was. He questioned everything because he was curious. I was curious, too.
- If you're using story slang, keep it to a minimum: this story had a few unique words--Greenie, shank, shuck-face, klunk. The author did a good job of repeating these few words without overwhelming the reader.
- Groundhog Day: Thomas' memory had been wiped, yet he kept feeling as if he'd been in the maze before. Most of his new life was new and unfamiliar, but then he saw or felt something and knew it wasn't the first time. I was intrigued, and wondered what the backstory was.
- Mysteries within mysteries: Another kid accused Thomas of being a traitor...of being responsible for their predicament. Was it possible Thomas was a bad guy in disguise? A mystery within a mystery. I wanted to know more!
- Avoid confusion: a girl arrived in "the box," with a note saying she's the last one. At first I thought it meant she was the last girl, but then learned otherwise. A couple of words would've clarified that point.
- Necessary world: with a grand story like this, I'd imagine the author could've gotten carried away with world details. But Dashner did a great job of only sprinkling in necessary details when they were important. By spoon feeding world to the reader, it wasn't overwhelming. It was a great blend of action, world, and dialog.
- End book one with something new: without giving too much away, I know that Book 2 will be in an entirely new setting. It'll include some of the characters I'd come to know, but it'll be infused with new characters who showed up at the end of Book 1. Really smart.
My son was glad to know I'd be moving on to Book Two of the series. I'm sure I'll learn from that book as well! Side benefit: chatting about books with my boys. #win
Have you read this book or the series? What do you think of these writing lessons? And if you write fantasy, dystopian or paranormal, do you sometimes get bogged down in world details? How do you avoid that?