Wordcraft vs storytelling

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I just finished the two Penelope Williamson 'Sin' books--mysteries set in New Orleans in the 1920s. The Hero/detective Daman Rourke(sp?) is a very flaw but charismatic character, the same goes for the heroine--Remy Lelourie(sp?). The characterization was so well-done, and the setting a character in and of itself. Overlaying themes and subtle foreshadowing were weaved into the plot of the several 'cases' to be solved that were then tied into the shared, and individual histories of the two protagonists. Days later I was thinking on all the clever things Ms. Williamson had accomplished with the books. And her wordplay--which at times could be a bit, er, overwrought--wrung every nuance of emotion/characterization/sensuality out of this book. Needless to say both books are keepers and I hope she writes more in this series.

Then I read a glowing review about another book--a 'raunchy' chick lit of sorts--that sounded like my cup of tea. I'm not real big on chick lits (that's a whole 'nother topic to write about) but the characters and story elements, as described by the reviewer, piqued my interests, so I bought the book as soon as I could get my hot little hands on it. Unfortunately I only skimmed the first paragraph or so in the bookstore, but it seemed interesting enough, and I was still in the middle of finishing the second Williamson book. I finally got around to reading the chick lit this week.


I know a big part of my disappointment is in comparing the 'word-craft' skill level of these two writers. An unfair comparison, because the second writer is Nowhere Near As Good (imo) as Williamson. Not even close. Not even on the same planet. She wasn't bad, she was just serviceable. She was okay. Her voice didn't sing to me. Nor did it speak the truth--that is, there was something very stilted and unreal about her writing. Nor was it clever/witty/touching in its expression. Like I said, serviceable. I was on a crowded subway on my way home--it's a fifteen minute trip, and I much preferred to stare at the ads in the train's car than read one more paragraph of her prose. And I didn't care a wit enough about the characters/story to even scope out to 'hot love scenes' (this publisher/imprint is known for it's erotic/sensual romances) that happened later. Call me perv, but I always check out the love scenes. *g*

Just another example of : "It's All In The Execution"

This is getting long; I'll be back with another post.

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Amie Stuart said...

Well I wanna know what book it was?!! LOL

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