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Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby DrG2 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:49 pm

I'm currently reading Claire Kilroy's "Tenderwire" and I really love the writing.
Then, a recent chapter made a big reveal - - 2/3 of the way into the novel - - that the first person narrator would have known all along.
And it wasn't something that happened in her past, it was something that happened during the narration of the book.
for an analogy (to avoid spoilers):
In ch. one, our protagonist goes into the hospital with some general symptoms, comes out not feeling well, but she moves on. Then on page 210, we learn the doctor told her she had an inoperable tumor. And she never thought about it, once, during the preceding 210 pages.

Metilda
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby Metilda » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:19 am

Ah, hmm - yeah, that sounds frustrating. You'd imagine such crap news as that would really alter someone's life. Sounds like the author had a 'oh wait - guess what I could do!' moment :D

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mammamaia
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby mammamaia » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:04 pm

i'm against all violence, so wouldn't resort to a slap... but i often cuss out authors for stupidities, as i come across 'em...
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DrG2
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby DrG2 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:16 pm

towards the end, the author makes us think that the protagonist has lost something, then we find out later she never lost it. If it wasn't written in first person, I wouldn't have minded.
besides these plotting issues, the writing is exceptional.

wdwdwd
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby wdwdwd » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:07 am

Yes. I've recently discovered Jennifer Westfeldt. One night I was really exhausted, and stumbled upon Ira and Abby while vegetating on the couch. I was amazed at the writing (and the direction) (and JW's performance), and thus went on a little Jennifer Westfeldt riff. Kissing Jessica Stein was readily available on Netflix, so I was happy to just click and drool for the rest of the evening. I was delighted by every sentence - until the two main characters in KJS started to describe what "sexy-ugly" meant. It was JW's only faux pas in an otherwise very impressive bunch of work. I just cringed thru the whole conversation, and I think it's because - well, it was clearly because she didn't need to belabor the point, and because young people can be so crass in their efforts to live up to society's expectations of them to be cute and quippy - but they mentioned specific actors who are in one character's opinion "sexy-ugly". It was cruel, and Westfeldt seems anything but cruel, and the moments are now immortalized in film history. I was so sorry to have seen her let it slip into her work. And it affected me probably because I'm terrified I'd make a similar oversight some day. Eek! And yes, my initial reaction was EXACTLY that: "Oh my god - I want to slap her!" (Then I calmed down though, and chalked it up to youth).

Metilda
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby Metilda » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:43 pm

Are you referring to the book or the movie? Authors are usually given less say in movie components, for one thing, but sometimes things just don't translate we'll to television because it lacks the written psychological component that puts things into perspective.

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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby wdwdwd » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:25 pm

Are you referring to the book or the movie? Authors are usually given less say in movie components, for one thing, but sometimes things just don't translate we'll to television because it lacks the written psychological component that puts things into perspective.

I was actually referring to the movie(s) (she might have books out - I haven't checked). But from her bio I assume she's got some power in the movie industry, and seems to have known pretty much exactly what she was doing (although that's clearly an assumption on my part). It is very true though, that movie and book dialogue are two very different things. I think my point was more about wanting to slap a perfectly great author - it's a strange impulse that I felt, from out of nowhere, because she made what I consider to be one very small mis-step. I think it's an indication to me as a writer that I have very mixed emotions about going public - there's so much scrutiny. And people don't always seem compelled to qualify their criticism. The gentleman who posted this question was gracious enough to compliment the book as a whole, and I loved JWestfeldt's two movies - except for that one three minute sequence during which I actually WANTED to slap her. Isn't that wierd?

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DrG2
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby DrG2 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:08 pm

I hoped the discussion would be about technical aspects of the writing, rather than content things.

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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby wdwdwd » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:21 pm

Yep. This is why I don't participate in writing forums. Sorry to disappoint you.

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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby Metilda » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:52 pm


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