Monday, April 30, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Just Shoot Me in the Face so this will End Already.

I am reading a book I do not particularly like and it’s been a little rough for me.  I refuse to give up because I want to like it so much…but I can’t.  The premise is incredible, the cover amazing, but my internal editor is freaking out over the repetitive use of words and phrases sometimes within the same paragraph! 

We know this can and does happen even with new releases.  None of us are immune.  We all have our tics that we don’t see as clearly as we'd like (my overuse of the words ‘but’, ‘almost’, and ‘just’ top the list), but hopefully we catch as many as we can before it hits the shelves.  However, the one thing that I can’t overlook is a voice that just isn't authentic to the story.

This is YA and I actually had to look up a word to see what it meant*.  If I don’t know what it means you can bet my teenager doesn’t either, and would definitely not be able to use it in a sentence.  Even if he did know, he wouldn’t use it because his friends would give him an atomic wedgie while dancing around him in a circle, chanting.  Yes, his high school is strikingly similar to Lord of the Flies.

But I will finish this book, regardless of how I feel.  Because it isn’t just the good books that make us better writers, it’s the bad ones as well.  And honestly, is there ever really a bad book?  Or is personal taste getting in the way of our objectiveness?

* I’m pretty well read and although my education was not the finest, it was more than adequate to place me in a professional field.  In other words…I am not an idiot.  I hope.  At least not most of the time and never in public.  Unless I'm drinking.  Then none of this applies.


  1. I admire your gumption (that may be the first time I've ever used that word in a sentence). I don't stick with books anymore. If I'm not feeling it, I might contemplate for a few moments on why not, and then I move on. Lesson learned.

    Love those pictures too by the way. Very cool.

  2. As a fellow non-idiot, I generally find the big-timers overuse words too. Dan Brown loves the word expanse, for example. I prefer a realistic voice too. The damn park isn't expansive, it's friggen huge. I never stroll, I walk. I sometimes stagger in restaurants, bouncing from table to table like a ball in a pinball machine when I drink.

  3. I finished a book yesterday that was like that. I loved the premise and cover, but the execution just didn't strike me as being up to par with the rest.

  4. If I've bought a book, I'll keep reading no matter what. Until. Recently. I read one book that by the middle of the book and screamed, "Enough!" It was too slow and boring. I mentioned it to my CP. Turns out she had the same reaction when she tried to read it a year ago. Too bad I forgot she had warned me about the book.

    At least the writing was good. The story just didn't live up to the premise.

    I read one novel in which the hero wore jeans in one paragraph and black leather pants in the next. Huh? When did he change? He was sitting at the kitchen table during the scene. How could the best selling author, editor, and copy editor not notice?????

  5. I used to finish everything I picked up. No more. There are other better books out there and I don't have all the time in the world - much to my dismay.

  6. Yeah, that's rough. Time was when I'd finish a book no matter what. Now I have no qualms in setting it aside if it gets too painful. Which is happening more and more often these days - my inner editor is on hyperdrive since I started writing.

  7. I feel like it's been a lot harder for me to find a book I really love ever since I started writing. I keep seeing all the things that the author is trying to do, and it gets in the way of being able to just relax and read it. I wish I could figure out a solution ... I thought maybe audiobooks, but I've OD'd on those too. Now I just savor the few books that I can fall into.

    Great blog BTW - new follower!

  8. There are so many unqualifiable factors when it coems to books. I often find myself loving a premise, and then luke warm about the execution. These days when I find an author I like, I stick to them like that you guy you couldn't stand stuck to you in school. :) Right now it's Louise Rennison. She's hilarious, and why isn't there more funny YA?

    PS, That Lord of the Flies line should be in a quote book somewhere.

  9. Charlie mentioned Dan Brown, and I was just looking at Angels and Demons ('cause I just saw the movie) and it starts with him waking from a dream.

    And yeah, even the worst book can teach us a great deal. I think it was Michelle Shocked who said you can learn more from an open mike night than from watching the best musicians.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.