Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Things in books that are lame

Hey, I remembered (all on my own!) what I wanted to blog about last night: Things That Bad Authors ::couDANBROWNgh:: Do That Both Drive Me Nuts And DEFINITIVELY PROVE That He Or She Is A Bad Author. See, this is why this wasn't the title of this post; I was feeling very strident about it last night. So I invite you, the reader!, to comment and add to the list the things that frost your cookies when it comes to bad writing. But here is my list (so far), and please to note the asterisks indicating the "stylistic manoeuvres" employed in "The DaVinci Code." (God I hated that book.)
  • *People don't speak, say or tell nearly as often as they "grin." ::aaaARRGgggh::
  • *Eyes are always twinkling.
  • *Everyone speaks English.
    • INTENSIFIER: *****!There is a stupid, contrived reason as to why non-English speaking characters are speaking English.
  • [This one is actually Pete's, but I whole-heartedly agree.] Non-native English speakers say everything in English, except for "yes" and "no" which they say in their native tongue. Da, darlink.
  • Oblique cultural references meant to let you know how smart the author is. (Dan Brown probably did this too, but I was so incensed by all the eye-twinkling and grinning with French accents that I didn't notice at the time.) For example, in a book that talks about Dracula, it isn't enough to point out that the movie version might not be an accurate historical representation of Vlad The Impaler, it has to be the Bela Lugosi version. Specifically.
  • Settings that come with a full, contextual set of obligatory actions (like restaurants: waiting, ordering, sitting, eating, drinking, waiting, paying, tipping, leaving) that are completely ignored. For example: characters arrive at a restaurant and are somehow seated without ever seeing a waiter, and their food arrives without ever ordering, all the while they're having an uninterrupted conversation, and then they pause to eat a single bite of food, a couple more lines of dialog, and suddenly they're helping each other put their coats on and leaving. If your characters converse throughout a meal, and you record all of the conversation for the reader, then it better actually be a meal's worth of talkin'. Please to note: J. K. Rowling does not make this mistake. When her characters leave a meal midway through, they're hungry later. If they fight, but finish their food, she lets you know that they finished their meal in awkward silence.
  • Over-the-top oddballness as a proxy for intelligence or a good up-bringing. Characters who proclaim that they never went out as teenagers because they grew up in the Orient with their diplomat/archaeologist/ninja parents, but they were never interested in that sort of thing anyway. Because the children of bankers and postal workers are always dull and uninteresting.
Okay, your turn!

Yes, I suck at blogging

I know, I know, I should post more often. Or ever. Baby steps, Sydney. But I have gotten super busy at work and super lazy at home. I have so many things I've been meaning to blog about... Off the top of my head, all I can come up with is:
But that's less because I so intensely want to blog about how AWESOME that book is and more because that book is so intensely AWESOME I keep bringing it up, even in totally inappropriate contexts. "You know Gramma, your desire to hold onto all of your old crap is just like Bill Parcell's desire to hold onto his stupid belief that the real key to football is all in the brawn and not in the strategy." Gramma says, "I hope Atlanta doesn't beat up on my Braves too badly... I hate Atlanta..." Yes, it's a football book. And yes, I loved it, so other non-sports people, you have to read it too. OR PERISH!
Also, Pete is worse than useless when it comes to remembering things that I wanted to blog about. It's almost like he's not actually in my head at all. This is good to know, as we are planning to get married this summer. I'm pretty sure that shouldn't be in my vows, though: "To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, whether you remember what I want to blog about or not..."
So that is why I have not posted anything. I've been working. And lazy. And did I mention being lazy? Because that's really the crux of the problem. Perhaps when Pete and I get our own place, and I have a desk again, I will be better about posting. Because then the lazy won't be amplified by the inferno-like heat of my computer melting my lap.