Friday, March 29, 2013

And I'm thinking what a mess we're in, Hard to know where to begin

Writing's hard.  To be more specific, trying to write an original story that doesn't come off as trite, cliched or otherwise unoriginal is difficult.  I'm also trying to avoid a common trope that annoys me to no end, and that is turning the lead character into a sexpot.  Bond is the best example I can think of, but he's been doing it for years, so I can kind of forgive him that.  For example, based on an Amazon recommendation and buzz I've heard, I started reading the Iron Druid series.  I'm about, oh, 6 or so chapters in, and the main character has been accosted by one naked goddess, slept with another, and flirted with another supernatural girl, all of which are described in overtly sexual descriptions.  Now, I know, it's fantasy, but please, it's just kind of ridiculous to beat us over the head with the author's fantasy sex objects. 

Another issue I have with the book is the overabundance of the supernatural in it thus far.  Yes, urban fantasy is about the mundane and the supernatural existing together, but again, 6 chapters in and we've met a couple of werewolves, a vampire, 2 goddesses, a group of fae, and a coven of witches, all in the same small town.  That's not even including the main character.  They're supposed to be "hiding" but none of them seem to take pains to hide what they are.  At least the Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake books have the excuse "supernaturals have made themselves known to the world at large" in their favor, but even then they don't scream "Ooh, isn't this cool, look at all the supernatural critters!"  Maybe I'm just spoiled by the subtlety of Charles de Lint (and if you have no idea who he is and you consider yourself a fan of fantasy, or even writing as a whole, stop reading this and go find one of his short story collections to read.  Dreams Underfoot is a good place to start) who incorporates the mystical into the urban in a flawless manner while still keeping it mysterious.  Or even the Dresden Files, where each book we're shown a little more of the supernatural world, until by book 13 or so, we understand why there are so many supernaturals.

Needless to say, I won't be reading any more books in this series.

It's not the only culprit of these sort of mistakes though.  For every Stackhouse or Dresden, there are dozens of wannabes that just don't get why these books worked.  Hell, even the writer for the show True Blood doesn't seem to always grasp why the books worked.  (Seriously, wtf is up with Tara and why must we be tortured by her every season?) 

I'll also admit, perhaps there's a bias on my end.  I'm painfully aware that most of my generation and younger just aren't familiar with classic literature in the way they should be.  Nor are they as well versed in the English language as they should be.  I know I'm not perfect but I at least attempt to use proper grammar and even will check a dictionary or thesaurus from time to time.  So yes, perhaps my high standards are to blame for my dislike of trite, unimaginative rehashes.  But here's the thing, you won't find me trashing the Twilight novels.  It's an interesting plot, and it got young adults reading, something I consider extremely valuable.  I'm perfectly willing to look at something, and say "It's just not for me" without having to make up reasons to condemn it.  However, if there are valid reasons, then I will share them.  If I haven't read it, as is the case with Twilight, then I clearly can't condemn it.

Well, that's my rant for today.  I will mention that I'm scrapping the serialized story through blog idea, as it would raise too many copyright issues, but that doesn't mean I won't be writing.  I am discarding the idea I was working on though.  I don't want to be lumped in with books like Hounded.  So now, onto idea . . . well, I lost count, but it should be fun.  For me at least.

1 comment:

  1. I had considered a serialized blog story as well, but as the first draft of the story being posted to the blog. The entire story would therefore be free, but to be printed later post editing, subject to change. Keep it up though, and don't stop writing.