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Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author? : Conversation question • Page 2 • 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.
wdwdwd
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Re: Have you suddenly wanted to slap an author?

Postby wdwdwd » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:43 am

Yeah - it seems to be very acceptable for writers to pound a plot-device into place - like they've gone 3/4 of the way down a road that was great in the beginning, and they hit some literary cul-de-sac, and lead us around in circles for a little while, and then, as in the case you cite, Metilda, they literally bring some kid in to jump over the fence and lead you into a plot that works every time - like the Cinderella myth. There HAVE to be more options - we all deserve MORE OPTIONS!!! (okay, I'm being silly, but I feel there actually is a lot of truth in that frustrated remark - it literally feels to me like we as a civilization have a few plot-endings to choose from in life. It's pretty distressing, when you think about it. And they're based on decisions people made in the Fertile Crescent 6000 years ago about what we all should want). But the question is: "How on earth do you solve THAT problem?"

And DrG2, I hope you'll forgive my very defensive reaction to your last post. I get very very freaked at even the THOUGHT of sharing my very protected thoughts on writing. And I've met a LOT of ugly snipers in the literary world. I shall collect myself and reconsider your request. Sorry.

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

Postby Metilda » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:56 am


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

Postby DrG2 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:52 pm

no need to apologize.
I didn't clarify what I was writing about, so the burden is on me.

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

Postby LMGilbert » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:32 pm

Nothing sudden about it, I've wanted to slap the stupid out of Michael Moorcock for several decades, now.

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

Postby wdwdwd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:42 am

OKAY! I've just discovered an author I can't ever imagine wanting to slap, and that's Thornton Wilder. Problem is, he makes me want to slap everyone else! Please please read The Ides of March (the novel, not the play - well, I've never read the play, but I can't imagine anything on EARTH comparing to this little gem). SO amazing. Flawless dude.

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

Postby wdwdwd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:43 am

...He makes me want to slap everyone else for not being as brilliant as he is (that's not very nice, is it? I'll have to take a self-reflexive look at that attitude when I get time).

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

Postby wdwdwd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:01 am

...and DrG2, (I obviously have incurable ADD - sorry) in reference to the point you were trying to make in the first place: Tenderwire has (I think) a really beautiful premise, and it seemed to me that the reviewers on Amazon were split down the middle - half feeling a lot like you do about its technical problems, and the other half who couldn't seem to have cared less. It seems though, that Kilroy was smart enough to appeal to a wide audience by providing a lot of "features". Some are extremely emotional, which can appeal to readers who NEED to (or just want to) read vicariously about another person's tangled life. Some are high-brow, which attract an entirely different audience. Classical musicians and amateurs (who are all pretty discerning as a rule) might be critical of the author's flawed plot-line, but read it anyway, just because classical music is such a vortex for certain people that they just gotta have it. There aren't that many stories written for people who love classical music, and if my daughter hadn't taken cello lessons for a while I'd never have uncovered the pretty obscure fact (relative to what the general public is going to want to read about) that particular instruments have great value and are famous in their own right. I'm more of a film person, and A Late Quartet is one of the very few films I've seen that addressed a certain need for me as a viewer that I remember thinking when watching: "Wow, this is such a cool experience. I never see this addressed in a movie". I also remember - well, for me it has to do with defining one's self as a writer - like, who do you want to appeal to and how and why? I was cramming all sorts of classic literature into my head and finally buckled and read a copy of Rosie O'Donnel's Find Me that a friend had told me I should read. It was so "pop" I was frankly embarassed to pick it up in the privacy of my own home. It turned out to be one of the most valuable books I think I'll ever read. I just walked around telling everyone what I jerk I'd been for underestimating Rosie O'Donnel all these years. I guess what I'm trying to say is that writers appeal to readers out there on so many different levels - readers are complex beings - very complex. And I still am not sure if this addresses your feelings about all this. Is it that you're wondering how she sells? Or how she could make such mistakes? Or that you might have the same sort of blind-spots in your writing? Or to express that you just wanted to slap her :lol: ?

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

Postby DrG2 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:22 pm

I guess I think someone should have told her to fix those things, which were easily fixable. If she wasn't such a great writer, it wouldn't have bothered me. potential lost.

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

Postby SojuSeed » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:20 am

Robert Jordan. Repeatedly in the face with a dead fish. I had to stop reading his WoT series because I get so frustrated at his portrayal of women being braid-pulling, dress-clenching shrews that I get physically angry. And while I'm at it, I want to slap his editor for letting him get away with it. You could shave that series down by half if you took out all the ink he wasted telling us how often women smoothed their dresses when they didn't need to. :evil:

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

Postby MatthewTM » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:07 am

Yes. A few I can recall:

David Nicholls at the beginning of One Day for a few reasons.

Douglas Coupland for some horribly executed head-hopping.

Any situation where an author describes a POV character's feelings or responses in a way that's outside that character's own experience.

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