Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Friday, February 04, 2005

I’ve tried to start two books this week, for reading during the commute to and from work. One was a new-to-me writer, the other was a much loved author, who, although she has many books sitting on my keeper shelf, I haven’t read anything new by her recently. Both stories suffered from the same affliction. What’s up with the ‘telling’?

I’m not a ‘rules’ nazi, I understand that telling has it’s place in advancement of plot and development of character, but there are ways and then there are ways.

Please don’t telegraph what is going to happen. If you have the heroine noticing the circus camped just outside of town, that’s enough. That she notices. If you want to tie that into some deeper angst—fear of clowns, how she wishes she had the freedom/time to visit, yaddah, yaddah—fine. Move on, move forward. Most readers will ‘get’ that at some point heroine will be visiting the circus. No need to go on, and on, about how tempted she is to go, but she shouldn’t, yet she doesn’t know if she can resist the temptation. Stop! Step away from the schizoid introspection.

Also, guess what? I paid for a book. Not just the first 3 *sparkly* chapters. Why bother to captivate me in the beginning, only to bore drag me, and the story development, down into dullsville by the middle. Make the whole book sparkle, damn you! gg. Unless your name is Jay Peterman, and you're trying to sell me something, I don’t need every little detail of setting, clothing, facial expression, thought process, etc. If you must ‘tell’ me what so-and-so is wearing, or itemize every thing in a room, relate it to mood, character, etc. Make the detail move the story along, deepen characterization, etc.

When things happen, events are described, dialogue is exchanged, but nothing really happens(?)—again in terms of plot development, conflict deepening/resolution, characterization—then nothing really happened(!), except me skimming past the verbiage. The term ‘filler’ sound familiar?

Conversation ‘tells’ suck too. Stilted dialogue where the author’s HEAVY hand is too intrusive, because a point has to be made, or an epiphany reached, also sucks. I can read between the lines. I enjoy it. Bet I could read between the authors' lines too, if they drew them with a fine tip rather than a paint roller.

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Anonymous said...

I recently picked up an ebook like that. I couldn't make it past the beginning. I was getting far too frustrated. I decided that since I read for enjoyment that it wasn't worth trudging on. Jordan

Jaye said...

Exactly, Jordan! That's exactly what if feels like: trudging. Hoping to hit the 'good' part soon. Some times it happens, but a lot of times it doesn't. :-(

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