Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting to the point.

Reading a contemporary romance written by a very well respected author, one who reviewers tend to love, but really hasn’t found an audience yet.

And as I read her book, I found my mind wandering, I’d put it down and days would go by and I hadn’t picked it up, but in the meantime I’d read three books by authors like Marjorie M. Liu, or Sherry Thomas, or JR Ward.

It took a while for me to understand why I was so reluctant to keep reading this book. All the elements were there. Appealing, fully rounded, quirky characters, a plot that did move forward, and nice tension, but each scene took twice as many words as it should have.

I could see where the scene was headed, but the author took the long, leisurely, quirky, occasionally cute, witty way to get there and I just got bored. I don’t believe these days we can have conversations just to show characterization, or if we do, those chats have to be fascinating. I’m sort of spoiled now by authors whose every word has a purpose and who have ruthlessly cut the fat from their manuscript and now it seems I can’t go back.

And for every author, the fat varies, but discovering what is meaningful and what isn’t is the real key to keeping a book relentlessly readable.

I’m a third of the way through the contemp, and I’ve given up on ever finishing it.

On another note, and a huge plea. Tonight is the season premiere of Friday Night Lights 3rd season. It’s a great time to start this show. Watch it, you will not be disappointed and my bet is within two episodes you’ll be in love with Coach and his wife, or at least seriously lusting after Riggins.
And if enough people watch this season, there might be another.

11 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

yes! Let's all watch Friday Night Lights!! It's too good a show to disappear, and considering what the tv watching has been like for the last four months - come on. Riggins alone is better than anything that's been on.

I hear you with that contemporary. I'm having an incredibly disappointing experience with Anne Stuart's Black Ice. I think the bar has been raised all over the place - tough publishing times have meant in the last year and a bit - better books. And there's no place for fat anymore. Whether you are creating a world or telling a really simple love story - it's been done this last year and it's been done really well. Repetition, paces that crawl, scenes that don't totally abide by the holy trinity, characters whose motivations waffle - we can't have it. Trim the fat.

I can't believe it, but I may not finish this Anne Stuart. I'm so sad.

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, Riggins... Sigh.

Sinead M said...

Wow! Loved my Friday night. FNL killed me with everything, although right now I think Tyra is my favourite character. But Smash and Saracen... killing me..

But Battlestar, dear God, I love that show... Everything that happened, the unrelenting grimness... the shock of D, and Starbuck..

Molly O'Keefe said...

Haven't watched Battlestar yet! So keep your trap shut!! But yes, oh yes, FNL -- "she went to bed with jesus and woke up with you. You're the rebound guy for jesus."

Good stuff.

Hey, couldn't find The Dollhouse -- where was it?

Sinead M said...

Dollhouse starts Feb 13th... apparently I was on drugs the day I was looking at the TV guide schedule...

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, keep your trap shut about BSG. Space was showing the entire 4.0 season all day... so I decided to wait so I could "review". I've got about 5 more episodes to watch before I get to the new ones. Might break down and just watch the new one. Who has 5 hours???

But FNL was great. I have so missed that show. I teared up when they showed Matt and his grandma at the end of the game.

K J Gillenwater said...

Funny, but I tried reading Sherry Thomas...and couldn't finish. Guess we all have our problems with certain well-respected and highly-praised writers.

For me, it was plot. She resolved every difficult plot issue with two or three pages of conversation. It was almost like she got bored writing the book and wanted to end it. This was "Delicious."

Anyway, readers are a funny bunch. I know my tastes are very particular. Takes me a while to find an author I really like. I know other people who read any and every author with the same amount of enthusiasm.

Sinead M said...

Hey KJ, I felt the same way about Judith Ivory, everyone else raved and I felt left out of the party.

Some author's resonate and some don't. Me, I need variety in my reading. Different kinds of books otherwise I get bored.

K J Gillenwater said...

Judith Ivory is hit or miss with me. Read one or two that I loved, read some others that I never finished. What I really need is for Laura Kinsale to publish something new. Please!

Sinead M said...

KJ, you and me, and Molly and so many others....
Laura Kinsale is the pinnacle, but I've sort of given up hope there...

K J Gillenwater said...

Yeah, her website has been reduced to just a landing page with no links, not even lists of her books or where to buy them. I'm so sad....

However, very excited, because I recently discovered a new historical romance author who might be an excellent replacement for my reading needs.

Tessa Dare. She has 3 books coming out in a row, starting in August, I believe. On her website is a very long excerpt from the first book. I'm completely hooked and already have her on my Amazon Wish List!

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