Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When good writers go bad.

I'm not going to name names.

I picked up the latest book in a long series and in a couple of chapters gave up on it. I loved the earlier books. This was about #12, I think. It's a big name author with a big name publisher. The writing was spectacularly bad.

Since I've been in a critique group I have found myself reading much more critically. Awkward sentences and typos stop me flat. And I don't think that's really a good thing, but there you are.

This unnamed novel had all of the newbie mistakes that have critics raving about self published dreck. In one paragraph every sentence started with 'she'. She was, she had, she felt...

Then there was the insanely repetitious description - I'm paraphrasing here: The lamp was on the table. The lamp had a small flame. The flame was too small to light the far corners of the room which were dark.

YAAAHH! I get it! The room was poorly lit. Sheesh. Just get on with it!

And then the dialog.  Ouch. Not only was it horribly awkward, it made the major mistake of summarizing the previous action. So people are telling each other what just happened when they, AND THE READER, already know.

There was a conversation at cross purposes that just about had me tearing my hair out. It didn't further the plot, the characters or the situation. And the repetition made me nuts.
Something like:
"I just arrested the murderer."
"You arrested the murderer?"
"Yes, I found the murderer and arrested him."
"How could you have arrested him?"
"I tracked him down and arrested him."
"But I saw him die."
"No, he's in jail."

You get the jist. The point is that there are 2. And this conversation went on for waaay too long. Which made the characters seem more like Abbott and Costello than the serious characters they should be.

So my question is - how did this get past all those publishing gatekeepers that are supposed to be so astute?

No comments:

Post a Comment