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  1. #1
    Luckydog
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    Am I alone in this 'Pet hate'?

    I like a good read. But I get awfully pissed-off when authors go overboard in their efforts to 'Paint the Picture'.......

    Just been reading a book where the Author describes EVERYTHING in detail.....eg. Someone brings a Tray with Tea and Biscuits. Now, I don't give a Bluddy Monkeys what kind of Tea it is. Nor do I care if the biscuits are Digestive or Ginger! But I find myself having to read half a page about them, and the Tray! Oh yes we have to examine that too.......Grrrrr.

    And when a new character is introduced, of course, I want a little bit about him/her. NOT A WHOLE PAGE!!!

    Do they do it to increase the thickness of the Book? Or are they paid per word by the Publishers?

    They must have some kind of reason, 'cos it slows the story down no end.

    Perhaps it doesn't bother you gits..........

  2. #2
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    I agree.
    That's why I like Andy McNab.
    He introduced a russian hitman character in one sentence
    "He looked like the kind of man who had trouble keeping food in his mouth"
    I got the complete picture with those 15 words.
    Many authors would have taken two pages to get the message across.

  3. #3
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
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    ^^
    I'm reading a transcript that a friend has written at the moment.

    it's very good in the main, but there is some over description.

    he has taken the criticism on board and has improved a lot of it.

  4. #4
    How Dare You!!
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    ^^^Have you read Saturday by Ian McEwan?

    You would hate it.

  5. #5
    punk douche bag
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    ^
    "the amber liquid past smoothly down his throat, the feeling of warmth in his belly gave him divine pleasure."

    an example of a bloke taking a sip of whiskey in another friends most awful book.

  6. #6
    I am in Jail

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    I hate descriptions mostly, unless you can do it like TS Eliot:

    The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
    The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
    Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
    Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
    Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
    Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
    And seeing that it was a soft October night,
    Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

    Develop characters through their words, choices and actions, and use the five senses.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    Stay away from Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

    The plot is almost subordinate to character development.


    Very diffucult for me to read, but well worth it.

  8. #8
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
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    same could be said of "the lord of the rings."

  9. #9
    How Dare You!!
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    I don't mind a description being lengthy as long as the quality of the words justify it. If a description resonates with poetry like JGs example then make at as long as it needs to be.

    For the opposite extreme try Matthew Reilly. I like a pacy thriller as much as the next geezer but that tripe is like reading a comic book without the pictures.

  10. #10
    I am in Jail

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    My pet peeve is !
    About as necessary as for a good writer unless you are on a forum.
    I remember reading Ludlum books and getting so POed about !! here and !!! there.
    One reviewer summed it up for me years ago in his column in the Asian Wall Street Journal. He said he was being extra careful writing this Ludlum review because he hated Ludlum for his !!! penchant among other things, but paperback publishers would always extract words from his reviews that were totally out of context (ie, this book is far from briliant -- paperback book publisher's quote: "brilliant"). I was on the subway, standing and reading this and laughing out loud. The poor Japanese bloke sitting in front of me starting checking his fly, thinking I was laughing at him -- I mean, few folks read the financial papers and laugh. Never mind.

  11. #11
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texpat View Post
    Stay away from Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

    The plot is almost subordinate to character development.


    Very diffucult for me to read, but well worth it.
    Must be a Tolstoy failing. War and Peace is the same. Far too many bloody characters being 'developed'. You forget who's who.

    Glad Anna Karenina was worth it. War & Peace wasn't.

  12. #12
    Bounced
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    Any style is cool as long as it flows and the story remains interesting.

    I don't think there are any rules apart from developing a personal style and having a good story to tell or observations that feel fresh or funny - worn-out metaphors such as 'amber liquid' are terrible though - if I wanted language like in the reader's submissions of porn mags I would go and buy a porn mag instead. Jake Needham take note.

    Like Thetyim I admire people who manage to express themselves with extreme brevity, but really good writers can use both brevity and well-placed verbosity and make them work.

    The Russians are a challenge. War and Peace is the only novel I have not finished, for exactly the same reason as November Rain stated.
    Freedom does not chew bubblegum

  13. #13
    How Dare You!!
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    ^^Thanks NR I had been thinking about giving it a go but I won't bother now. I am not a fast reader so that's saved me about a year

  14. #14
    The cold, wet one
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    ^ & ^^ I nearly gave up loads of times, but I wanted to say I'd read it. This was when I was in my early 20's. Really wonder why I put myself through it now. It took me about a year & I can get through a book I really enjoy (time permitting) in a day or two.

  15. #15
    Northern Hermit
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    Details can make or break a story, the wrong details confuse and irritate me. Just read two whodunits by an author in each one he describes in minute detail what each fucking character is wearing each time they walk on the scene. none of the characters is a fashion maven or even fastidious dresser. Detective is searching a residence two paragraphs on the contents of the suspects closet.

    he then includes details that are blatantly wrong as well as unnecessary. "Charactername prepared a liverwurst & Hellmans Sandwich" Ok the brands not important but if you're going to include it USE THE RIGHT FUICKIN BRAND! The character lived in San Francisco and was currently at home.


    Taking more than one page to introduce a character is good for main characters; Walk on parts get a sentence or two. Been reading a lot of Henry Miller's stuff lately. He can turn a beautiful phrase but he can gt carried away with describing a character that has less dialog or narrative dedicated to their actions that the long winded, but rich, description, quite a few times I would lose track of the character he was describing and have to turn a page back. Wonderful prose though
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty -- T. Jefferson


  16. #16
    I am in Jail

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    ^ Ya, I like Henry Miller. But he gets densish sometimes, when he's not swearing. I love to read and the public library is one wonderful thing about the west. You can find some great authors and trash the ones that smell for free. I used to keep a record of all the books I read with a short review, but the file self-immolated when the computer died.

    One fun book is Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

    Quote Originally Posted by Texpat View Post
    Shimbun yomeru toki wa amari okashikunai desu ne.
    So ja ne. Manga no ho ga ii.
    Last edited by Jet Gorgon; 17-12-2007 at 06:24 PM.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon View Post
    ^
    "the amber liquid past smoothly down his throat, the feeling of warmth in his belly gave him divine pleasure."
    .
    Are you taking the piss CMN?

  18. #18
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    Are you taking the piss CMN?
    sadly not.


  19. #19
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim View Post
    I agree.
    That's why I like Andy McNab.
    He introduced a russian hitman character in one sentence
    "He looked like the kind of man who had trouble keeping food in his mouth"
    I got the complete picture with those 15 words.
    Many authors would have taken two pages to get the message across.
    Have you read 'Liberation Day'? That's the one I've just started. Just beginning to get me hooked (Andy McNab takes a couple of chapters for me to start feeling the urge to pick up the book rather than do something else)

  20. #20
    I am in Jail

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    Quote Originally Posted by friscofrankie View Post
    details that are blatantly wrong as well as unnecessary. "Charactername prepared a liverwurst & Hellmans Sandwich" Ok the brands not important but if you're going to include it USE THE RIGHT FUICKIN BRAND! The character lived in San Francisco and was currently at home.
    Yes, forgot to include this. Errors in the flow of things or including wrong facts make me throw the book in the bin or get my red pen out. That is just shoddy work, and whoever edited the piece should be strung up alongside the wannabe author. I never believe anything I read, but a story sshould be glued together properly.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
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    I really didn't want to like Andy MacNab's books, but they are a really good read.

    My fave author for painting scenes effortlessly is Wilbur Smith. Reading his books is just like being there.

  22. #22
    The cold, wet one
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    ^ I've read a few Wilbur Smith's. Liked a couple & couldn't get on with the others. IMO, the author that effortlessly takes you there is Bryce Courtenay. I've read virtually everything of his & loved it. The Power of One is one of my all time favourite books.

    I'm going to get redded for this from all the intellectuals, but I also think Stephen King is a fantastic storyteller - in the true sense of the word. I particularly like his more fantasy stuff like Insomnia & the Dark Tower series.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
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    I can't describe a particular style that works for me between brevity and rich prose, but you know when it works and you know when it doesn't.

    A master of rich prose was Dickens, so I was looking forward to reading his 'bleak house', said to be his most heavyweight work by some. What a load of self absorbed windbagging shite. My guess is he could do no wrong at this late stage in his career. Shame he didn't have a decent editor- even genius can take itself too seriously.
    probes Aliens

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
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    It is said that a good measure for writing skills is to describe to an alien that understands English but absolutely nothing else, how to tie a knot.

  25. #25
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    ^
    Hmmm....not easy to test that theory

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