Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What went wrong with the book I read…

I recently read a relatively well known book, and while the premise was AMAZINGLY clever—the book fell flat.


Far narrative distance. The story was told through a series of letters. This has been done well before (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is as great example), but in this book I just read I never connected to any of the characters. The narrative distance was too far. I was never part of the action. I was told what happened afterword in a detached way—“We kissed on the peir. It was very passionate.” Okay, I guess if you say so. Wish I was there :)

No voice: I couldn’t tell the characters apart. I got so annoyed with this that I made it into a game. I tried to guess who wrote the letter before I got to the end. Some letters were so boring I just skimmed.

Contrived word choices: Some of the word choices the author used were ridiculous. I’m a fan of cool words—but only if they add something to the story. Why say laconic when brief works just as well? I can understand that it can be important to character voice or story flow to use big words, but it didn’t work here.

I learn something every time I read—what to do—what NOT to do. I understand that writing is subjective—so maybe I’m wrong, but whether I am or not—good and bad books make me a better writer.



Ruth said...

I think a lot of times, writer's are trying to write books that they would read themselves. Everytime we read a book, like you said, we learn what we love and what we don't and in turn our books become something that we can be proud of and something we love.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

"Wish I was there" LOL!

It's so interesting when you can actually say WHY you didn't like a book. Remember when you just said, "I didn't like it" and that was sufficient? ;)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Since I started writing I tend to pick out more mistakes and errors and even plot holes and things when I read a book. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but I think it's a good learning experience as well. I try to look for it in my own writing now. :)

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