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Friday, April 17, 2009

Bad Books

Bad books have a purpose. Of course, they give those of us who are trying to get published some hope. But more than that . . .

They are great blogging fodder.

I read a real groaner this week. It was a sneaky one. It passed my first page test(this is the quick read I do as I stand by the book rack, trying to ignore my husband and whatever boys are hanging around, drumming their fingers and wishing I'd hurry up). In this case, the good writing even continued through the second page. After that, I can't quite figure out what happened to the writer, but I suspect they simply decided that the writing didn't matter and I feel cheated. Even the writer's bio fooled me (it sounded like they should know what they were doing).

Terrible, terrible dialogue, writing that sounded like some of the "beginnery" stuff we get in Rorschach's at TUF (where you expect to find it), and characters that couldn't quite make up their mind what they wanted to be.

Why did I keep reading you ask? That's what my fourteen year old asked after I complained. "Because I bought it and I want to get my money's worth and because I keep hoping it will get better. Plus . . ." I leaned over, "It gives me something to read out loud to you."

After two lines of dialogue, he clapped his hands over his ears. "Stop! Stop! Before I start to bleed!" I did, but not before I taught him the words "Info dumping" and "suspension of belief" and "long passages of unrelated extraneous information" (something I'm bad about giving in person, but should never find its way into a book, or a blog for that matter . . . hmmm . . . ).

I didn't know characters in a book could over-act until I read this one.

Interestingly this is not this person's first book (we all have to write them and they are often not our best work). In fact there are quite a few others. I won't be reading them, but it's nice to know that this writer has been so successful. They've obviously found a market for their work.

Now all I've got to do is figure out how to repeat that success. Only with better writing.

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