Monday, November 16, 2009

Will Ya Shut Up Already

I had something happen to me recently that has never happened before. I abandoned a book (one that I was reading, not writing) after laboring with it for 120+ pages.

I hate giving up on books or movies. I usually will give it a once through just in case it redeems itself in the end. If it doesn't, then I don't read or watch it again. Besides, bad writing can sometimes teach you as much, if not more, than good writing. But this book, which I will leave anonymous, was just too much.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I just don't have as much time to waste. I'm not sure. It wasn't that the author was a bad writer. He was very good. The book was a New York Times bestseller (not that that means a great deal). What really sealed it for me was the chunk of back story that lasted for over 70 pages. I don't mind a bit of back story . . . a lot of back story if it carries the story along . . . but man, come on. Stephen King talks in his book On Writing about authors that fall in love with their own writing and ramble on just to see the words on paper. It's the equivalent of a blabber mouth who talks just to hear his own voice. There are few things more annoying.

So, away with it.

My wife and I are voracious readers (well, we were before children). I'm sure most of you are, too. You know the score. You buy books with the fervor of a habitual hoarder, and hope someday you'll be able to sit and read them all. So, my bookshelf is never void of a book to read.

I found one I got for Christmas last year: a collection of short stories by Clive Barker. Man oh man is it good. But my writing feels so remedial next to such a giant. My vocabulary is just too humble.

But that's a different post.

Writing wise, I haven't yet started my next novel due to a short story that popped up out of nowhere and derailed me. I hope to have it out of my brain soon so that I can start the long journey that is the novel.