Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Forcing It

Yep, she's forcing it alright. Just like the last book I read. I was spoon fed information in dialogue, in narrative, and heck, just about everywhere else the author could shove it at me.

I'm not dense. When characters converse, I'm assuming they're going to tell me something crucial to the story. But being told the plot and background of characters in bullet-like fashion just killed the story I just bought and couldn't finish.

You hear a lot in the business of writing: to show, not tell. This means the reader wants to know what happened by seeing it happen. If something happened in the past, characters may discuss it, but usually in context to what's happening in the present. For example, I wouldn't just blurt out to my children that I broke my left toe fifteen years ago. But if my son stubs his toe today, I'd be justified in telling him the pain will go away, because I too had an injury some years ago when I broke my toe. Or if I needed him to know about his grandparents' history, it would be in context to something else imporant in the story, and not necessarily as a blurb that jumps out of nowhere, and as a vehicle merely to fluff the plot.

Unfortunately, the book I recently read plotted out the story line by line, in between sex scenes, in both dialogue and narrative. The characters might as well not have been there for all that the author seemed to be speaking just to me. The hero has people after him. They are called XXXX and they are after him because YYYY. Then he unzipped his pants and gave it to the heroin all over again. Geesh.

I don't often see this kind of poor storytelling anymore, simply because I'm selective about what I buy. I know which epublishers I like, as well as certain print publishing houses. I'm always happy to take a chance on a new author, but it's times like these when I realize I've wasted my money and my time. That's five bucks I'll never see again. *sigh*

But if I'm going to be all Pollyanna about it, I should think that reading blatant material like this is actually another opportunity to learn--to make sure I don't do in my own stories. God forbid. An opportunity for me to continue to improve my craft.

Just another day in the life of a writer who should be writing, and not reading so darned much.

3 comments:

Redz said...

that is a cute doll.... I just had to stop by and see your blog!

Anonymous said...

Yep, can sympathise. I've read to omany books like this and it makes me cry in frustration as a reader. I want to feel emotions and experience the story through all my senses!!!

Valerie
valb0302@yahoo.com

Marie Harte said...

Thanks, Redz and Valerie. I put you guys both in today's contest, by the way. Blogger was giving me fits trying to post my Emergence contest.

As for the doll, she creeps me out. Looks way too human.

Marie :)