Monday, January 17, 2011

A Writer's Worst Nightmare?


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 nonsensical crap an author throws your way?

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