I'm beginning to think I am a writer's worst nightmare. Recently I was reading Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs, who used to be one of my favoritest writers in the world. But from scene one I felt like the narrative was clunky and flowing awkwardly. I kept questioning why we were being shown certain scenes (the Mr. Bojangles singing time? Why?), and why some scenes dragged on forever when they should be short and sweet. Actually, I take that back, almost every scene felt like it dragged on forever.
And then I kept getting all snaggly on random details--for example, Charles' wardrobe. Item the first, the man wears silk shirts. Wow, hello early '90s! I wanted to be the bigger person and ignore this, but the author kept shoving it in my face. There was even a (pointless) shopping scene where Ana bought more silk shirts. OMFG. Make it stop. Add to that the leather bomber jacket and cowboy boots, and I could not get the image of Steven Seagal out of my head. It was nausea-inducing.
But I don't just do this with Hunting Ground; I'm like that annoying person who notices inconsistencies in movies after seeing them for the first time, except I do it with books! Granted, this doesn't stop me from enjoying a novel, necessarily--I've enjoyed plenty of dumb books--but there's always that super-critical part of my brain keeping a lookout for every mistake, blip in the flow of the story, something doesn't make sense. I can't turn it off! You should see me grade student papers.
Or maybe I can turn it off. Do you read super-critically, or can you just relax and accept whatever
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