Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Over explaining much?

Usually I just ditch books that are hard going.

This afternoon (we'll blame my heat addled brain) I spotted a book on my kindle that I didn't remember. I noted I hadn't finished it. Guessing there was a good reason I opened the book and started to read from where I left off.

Man, there really was a good reason.

One LONG paragraph of exposition disguised badly as dialogue later ... I knew exactly why I'd never finished it.
Laughing to myself I decided I'd at least finish the chapter.
I did.

Most of it (99%) comprised of the characters (whose names were getting confused by the way, as in, the author didn't seem to know who was who half the time) expounding every possible thing in long winded dialogue paragraphs.
Yeah. No breaks with any sort of action whatsoever. No real dialogue either. Just two people talking AT each other.
Don't do that! It sucks. If you can't show us who these people are why should we care about them? But wait ... it gets worse!

Wading through the boring over explanations I realized the main characters were going to have sex. It would've been VERY easy to miss. No building of tension. No ramping up of desire. No showing at all. But there was long winded dialogue TELLING all the goddamn way through.
Did the sex scene work?
Hell no.
Was a bad fumble from beginning to end marred by shoddy writing and TELLING.
As a reader I rolled my eyes a lot. Laughed out loud. Cringed. And finally closed my kindle and wondered what on earth the author was thinking. Then came to the conclusion that I'm very glad that author isn't my partner, let's face it life is too short for bad sex. :)

Let me just drink some of this beer while I consider what I teach my students about writing.

First and foremost - don't treat your readers like idiots. (We can read therefore we can work shit out.)
Secondly - SHOW don't tell (for the most part and you better fucking SHOW the action! You can tell the boring bits ... sex should be action not one of the boring bits).
Thirdly - make your characters real people (not cardboard cutouts).
Fourthly - dialogue is a tool use it to show characterization and move the story forward.
I could go on and on ... and fucking on and on. But I'm not going to. I am going to go drink this beer with my Knight and feel delighted that no writer I taught wrote the shite I read today.

PS: it's motorbike weather tomorrow so prepare yourselves for out and about on the Harley photos. Today is too hot for leather. :)

This was yesterday in Freo ... facing my fear of ship wrecks and doing it anyway!



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