Hey Ani-fans. So, I was just at the American Library Association annual conference, and I went to a presentation by David Levithan about series fiction. I love David Levithan for the books he's written and co-written in his own right (Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Boy Meets Boy; Dash & Lily's Book of Dares), but I also love him for the books he's ghostwritten (Babysitters Club) and edited (Hunger Games). Basically I think that almost everyone out there loves something David Levithan has touched although they might not know his name. He's currently an editorial director at Scholastic.
I blogged some about meeting him but I mostly talked about the Babysitters Club in my blog (since that's mostly what he talked about). But I thought this comm might be interested in the bits of info I got about Animorphs & series fiction in general.
Anyway, so he starts up his presentation and the first slide is covers of the Babysitters Club and Animorphs relaunch titles, though he said that he didn't have anything to do with Animorphs (although he did work at Scholastic when Animorphs was being published). He talked about the late 80s and early 90s as the "heyday" of series fiction, when books would come out once a month or twice a month. He cited BSC, Animorphs, and Goosebumps as Scholastic's "Big Three," which was interesting to me because I never thought Animorphs were as popular as BSC or Goosebumps? As a kid, I definitely knew more people who read the other two series than Animorphs. But maybe that was just my school. Also, he described all three series as being "episodic" fiction where it didn't necessarily matter if you read them in order, or read all of them. To some extent that's true of Animorphs (there are definitely books you could skip, for example) but I don't think it's true in the same way it is for BSC or Goosebumps.
Oh, and he talked about revamping the series-es (I think the plural of series is just series but whatev) and making them "time neutral." The example he gave was if a character was listening to a Walkman, they didn't change it to "iPod," since you'd just have to change that again in 10 years. Instead they changed it to "music." He said it wasn't that hard to do, which I thought was a little surprising. I still haven't read the relaunched Animorphs books (and TBH I'm not sure if I ever will... there are too many new books that I want to read!) so I'm not sure how much stuff has been changed. Has anyone posted about that here? Did it seem like there were a lot of changes?
The thing that I thought was most interesting was that he predicted that digital publishing would bring a new era of series fiction. He cited the 39 Clues books (which I haven't read) as an example--there are the books, which come out pretty frequently, but you interact with the same characters online. I don't think there are any plans to do this with the revamped Animorphs, but wouldn't it be cool?
- Scholastic Series Fiction