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critical reading and how not to judge a book
November 6th, 2006 - 10:08 am
|I'm reading over the 120+ comments over at NM's about the advance chapters she got of CC's book (which I've seen the cover of and it's not that bad looking) ... and I'm kind of bemused. My first thought was "well of course you think it sucks, you hate her!" So I clicked onward, and what I'm seeing is actually kind of terrifying.|
I mean, yeah, okay, some of the things they're hitting (this is without me having read any of it, just looking at these comments) some of those things are pretty amateurish. Which for a first pro-published, own-universe book, really isn't that bad. Basically the gripes seem to boil down to "I don't like her style it sux" generally referring to the descriptives (and I can't touch on that since I like descriptives myself quite a lot), or "zomg she's ripping off various popular television shows" which, you know, after the plagiarism debacle of course people are going to be looking for, and seeing, that sort of thing.
There's also the thing which a lot of writers will tell you, which is that ambient books/tv/music, like onions, will spread into your work -- so if you happen to love a certain show, and watch it a lot, its mood, theme, and style is undoubtedly going to be reflected in whatever you do. Something it seems like the fan-reader community either doesn't get or ignores is that, while there may be more than 3 stories to tell, as a general rule certain tropes get repeated a lot because they are /easy/. Because they are socially common. No, being raped doesn't automatically make you a victim person, but general society thinks so, and thus that as a trope shows up a lot in young writing.
It takes a lot of writing, a lot of work, and a lot of time to develop adult, informed, and unique writing. CC's what, young 20s? Yeah. And this is her first work. It's not likely to take off, but then again it's probably not the most awful thing ever written in the history of ever. Most YA books are pretty cliched, pretty inaccurate, and generally dumbed down.
The only thing I've seen in those comments so far which /I/ consider a valid criticism, and not born out of the air of dislike for CC that's around here, is someone's comment that it read like it should have been a tv show. Which if you're one of those writers who tends to see scenes play out in their head, that's both a valid style and a valid criticism. I don't know what CC's ratio of tv-to-books is as far as daily intake goes, but I'm betting that part of that style is directly derived from her watching a lot of tv. That goes back to that whole onion thing.
I probably won't buy the book. I might check it out at the library when it comes out, just to see, the same way I did Eragon, which I think suffers a lot of the same problems.
But at least I don't hate CC, and might therefore be able to be a little objective.
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