Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Write better than that.

There's a book I'm reading right now by a prominent writer. I'm not going to be more specific than that, because he's (clue!) a good guy. I wanted to like this book. Now I just hope I have the fortitude to finish it, and the patience, and the hope that it gets better at some point.

It's a beautiful book. The worldbuilding is priceless. The plotting is horrible. And I say this mainly because I see a lot of my own mistakes in it, things that I've learned over a number of years and hard fought revisions to overcome and improve in my own work. We are clear? There is no plot. There are events, and set-pieces, and a protagonist who is moved through these events and set-pieces by forces beyond his control. At the half-way point of the book the main character has been kidnapped *three* times because otherwise he has no way of advancing in a plotward direction. And the protagonist? Does he do anything? No. Does he have a plan? A skillset that recommends him to the task? Uh...anything? Bueller?

So I'm frustrated, because it could have been a great book. You can have a beautiful setting, artistic text *and* a plot. It's not going to kill anyone.

It's time we expect more of our authors. It's time we expect more of our books, and ourselves.


At 3:23 PM , Anonymous Scott Janssens said...

If it's YPU, it starts to get interesting around page 200.

At 4:14 PM , Blogger Tim Akers said...

It's not. I ended up stopping the read about forty pages from the end. Because here's the thing: even if the end made up for all the bad text in front of it, a reader shouldn't have to wait until the end of the book to enjoy the book.


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