Friday, July 6, 2007

The Worst Writing Sin

I need to vent. Let me preface this post with a disclaimer; this isn't sour grapes. At least not exactly. I'm not pubbed. I'm not ready to be pubbed. I'm not even ready to submit anything yet. But I'm a reader and I keep feeling like I'm being ripped off because an author has "potential."

How the frack do some people get pubbed? Not only pubbed, but loved. I've recently been reading two different authors, one well known, the other not so much...yet. But very similar errors showed up in their work. And this really worries me that this flimsy, crappy storytelling technique is becoming acceptable, or Divinity forbid, standard practice.

Authors and publishers make a pact with the reader that they are going to take care of them on a journey, that neither their time or their money will be wasted. To break it is criminal and ought to be met with public flogging with silly string and repeating the 2nd grade.

So what is this technique that has me riled? Can't you tell? I'm using it. I'm all angsty and confused and angry, but I'm not telling you what about. Cause obviously if I just come out and say it then you won't come with me. Won't believe me that this is a real problem. That it's worthy of being upset about. No it's so much better to dodge the issue. Not just from the other characters but from the POV character as well and there by the reader. Well, where the hell is the catharsis in that?

It's a tragic, warped and twisted version of Scarlett O'hara saying "I can't think about that now. I'll go mad if I do. I think about it tomorrow."

Except one huge difference, WE, THE AUDIENCE, knew 1) what was wrong and 2) her emotional states, She couldn't bear one more problem right then and that's fine because we knew why.

Internal conflict is fine, but for Gods' sake put it on the freaking stage, not just the angst but the freaking conflict the character is having. If your story is so flimsy that it evaporates when you put the conflicts on the stage then get better conflicts.

I want to worry for the character, but if you don't tell me what's wrong, I can't do that. And that's when the author and the publisher have broken their covenant with the reader. And it pisses me off.

The second commandment of writing is don't break faith with the reader.

1 comment:

Shamrock said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I read a book by someone whose work I'd previously enjoyed. (I'd read one of her books already and this second one had won an award. Hurray, I thought.)

The problem was the FMC and MMC were at loggerheads for no apparent reason that I could understand.

And then the MMC asked the FMC to tell him what was wrong.

"Would you care to explain (the problem)?" he asked.

"It would serve no purpose," she replied.

It's not often I put a book down, but I did that time. I was bitterly disappointed.

The first book was very, very good, however.