January 5, 2011 by Renee
I’ve got about twenty minutes before I have to venture into the frozen tundra, uphill, to get my kids from school. So, today’s post will be relatively short. I say relatively because I can type pretty darn fast.
On the querying front: Another rejection. Boo! Hiss! Thanks for your support. I’ll keep begging for abuse. It’s starting to grow on me anyway.
Now, for the fun stuff. I’ve been reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels recently and something strange is happening. I am NOT a huge fan of the writing in terms of her technique. I think that’s what it is. Sometimes parts are extremely clunky and I’m actually cringing at the awfulness of it, others times I’m impressed. Now, most times when I’ve noticed so many…failings, in a book, I put it down. I might give the author another chance and read the next book, but if I’m still not impressed after two, forget it. I. Can’t. Stop. Reading. These. Books. Why? It’s very disturbing for me. I don’t know. I can’t wait to get my hands on the fifth installment either. What is happening to me?
I’ll tell you what I think it is. I think there are many elements that make a book worth reading. Sometimes the writer gets things wrong, sometimes they get just enough right to keep you reading. This author has blended enough “something” to keep me hooked. I love brilliant characters and yes, I’ll overlook shitty writing if the characters spark something in me. Now, let me clarify for all of you, I don’t think Ms. Harris’s writing is shitty. It’s inconsistent. Very good at times, horrible at others. She’s obviously got skill, but there are a lot of visible problems with what she writes. Her plots are…a stretch, resolutions are improbable and sometimes lazy, and sometimes the passive voice is so loud my ears hurt. But when she gets it right, and she does, it’s magic.
I’m also a sucker for good dialogue. Natural dialogue that makes me forget I’m reading a book. These novels have some great dialogue. (yes some sucky dialogue too, but mostly great) Dialogue will make or break a novel for me. It’s one of the most important factors for me. I don’t care if everything else is right, if the dialogue sucks, I’m done.
POV doesn’t matter to me. I can read any POV and enjoy it. I know people who refuse to read first person, some hate omniscient; if it’s done right, I love any POV.
Plot is the other thing that I place great importance on. By this I mean the action, the pace and the resolution. Nothing can piss me off more than a bullshit ending. If it’s wrapped up so fast you aren’t sure what happened I get hives. (by the way, I get hives when I’m angry. Your interesting fact for the day) A cliffhanger makes me break things. Not my things, other people’s things. An ending that is so cliched it makes me nauseous will put me off an author too.
What’s my point? I find it interesting how a million people can buy a book and rave about it and I pick it up and hate it, or they hate it and I love it. Tell me, what 5 things does a book have to have for you to love it?