My Profile
Diary Rings

Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

Join my Notify List and get email when I update my site:
Powered by

1:09 p.m. - 2010-03-23
On Reading.

Books. Books.

Thanks to the glorious Miss Steph and her extremely thoughtful and much appreciated birthday gift I was able to have a spree at B&N the other day. I finally, finally got myself a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I know, I know, but honestly? I've not read a lick of Jane Austen. I've seen several mini-series and film adaptations of her works. My fave? 'Clueless'. Yes, I am a heretic. Sue me. I like Alicia Silverstone. Besides, in my formative years (age 11 or so) I tried some of the coming of age 'girl' classics like 'Little Women' and 'Wuthering Heights' and totally burnt myself on them. Too dense. Too archaic. Too far from my life as the child of an ignorant drunk who fetishized fashion and scorned anything smacking of intelligence and true class as being too uppity to score meals and drinks off of men anxious to get laid and thus validate my mother's lower-than-Death-Valley self-esteem. How was I supposed to know Jane Austen, while using the semi-archaic language I abhorred, was a total snarky bitch? I'd lumped her in with Alcott and the Bronte sisters and never bestirred myself to find out otherwise. At least until recently. Throwing in some zombies seems to be a decent bribe for finally taking on Jane Austen in print.

I also got the first of a YA series about a teenaged vampire. Eighth Grade Bites was amusing. More than a bit lax about logic flaws, but I reminded myself that YA fiction plays by different rules. Besides, I'd dealt with all the sidestepping and over-writing of established realities in the 'Harry Potter' books and survived. Not that ole JK didn't do her best to clean up and explain the logic lapses, c'mon the woman wrote 10,000s of pages over several years and still managed to keep the main storyline intact. I'm just mildly grumbling over my main crab about all fiction, which is balancing the 'real' vs the 'true'. Nothing in a work of fiction has to be 'real', otherwise what's the point of a yarn? But for me it has to stay 'true'. If a certain rule of logic is established early on then it must be carried through the rest of the work. Be fair. That's all I ask.

This is why I find that stinkin' Jodi Piccoult so maddening. She NEVER stays true to the characters. She fricken moves them around the chessboard of her books willy-nilly to serve her plot contrivances. Waaaaaaaay beyond the offensive standard deus ex machina, Jodi Piccoult is insulting in her high-handed hijacking of characters and their actions to force through her dopey plot twists. A mealy-mouthed character who's spent the last 300 pages being a wimp will suddenly bust out with an act of violence or treachery or some lame-brained thing which is TOTALLY against character just because that inept Jodi wants an "OMG!" moment or to introduce some convenient out for the corner she's written herself into. Bite me, Jodi Piccoult, your laziness and cheeseball antics suck. You are a SHIT writer.

NO! This is not sour grapes. I do not ever mind someone's success as an author if it's merited. Not ever. No matter the genre or subject to hand, good writing is good writing. Go and be well. Make pots of money. But…cheap ass writing is forever and always cheap ass writing and cannot be forgiven.

Keeping it honest is one of the reasons I admire Lorna Landvik. Another very popular writer whose books are often dismissed as fluff and puff. (ie: fiction for women, and don't get me started on that bit of snobbery, we'll be here all day) She easily and often helps herself to the convenient plot contrivances and pot-boiler standards, but those things fit. If they serve the plot, they also don't make a mock of the established characters or the readers. Don't insult me. Don't disrespect the characters. Don't develop a reality for 250 pages only to abruptly abandon it because you're too dumb or careless to carry it through from the beginning and need a quick exit from the snarl you've written.

The gun on the mantle in Act 1 should always go off by Act 3. The butler is allowed to do it, provided the butler is fricken introduced before the 3rd to the last page. Characters are allowed to have secrets, even from the readers and themselves, just don't be so goddamn lazy as to invent one because you boxed yourself in and can't be bothered to go back and rewrite.

Of course I am not speaking about real life, in real life people do screeching U-turns and do stupid pointless shit all the time. I am talking about fiction. A made-up universe where anything is allowed to happen, but there's still rules. Why? Because I say so. That's why. Because if writing were convenient or easy, everyone could do it and the value of a tale would be as worthless as the politician's promise. It would be easily broken as a true love vow. Because there'd be no safe refuge from the real world where anything goes and life is beyond random. Because good writing matters, especially because so little else does.

Yours until the Catskill Mountains have kittens, ~LA

4 Wanna talk about it!

previous // next