Monday, April 19, 2010

A dash of snark

I figure we aspiring authors deal with a lot of negative stuff i.e. rejection letter after rejection letter or less than glowing feedback from a crit partner.  With that in mind I generally try to keep my blog pretty positive.  Also I've read a few blogs that are all out unbridled snarkiness; funny at first, then a little wearing, then downright old, so I try to avoid the negative stuff.

However, everyone in my household is down with some miserable crud: coughing, sneezing, sore throat, oh joy, so I'm feeling a bit snarky today and decided to share it with those of you in blogger land. 

This weekend, I read Circle of Souls. The author's name escapes me because it's a lot of letters long and I never could figure out exactly how to pronounce it.

Circle of Souls has glowing reviews on front and back covers as well as all over the internet. It's already been released in hard cover and I picked it up on its paperback rerelease, so I was thinking this must be a pretty damn good book. I couldn't wait to read it.  In fact, I sacrificed hard to come by writing time and harder to come by (little blond person is also sick) sleeping time to read it.  It's a thriller type book, though a little off the traditional thriller track.  I was captivated by the premise.  It was well written and during the first half those pages were turning as fast as I could read.  Then it was like the author or editor or someone fell asleep on the job.  The story unraveled, the quality of the writing went downhill and this book, to me committed the sinniest of all thriller sins.  It was predictable.

Some of the chapters were written from the killer's POV.  However, the killer turns up about a quarter into the book as a secondary character and from all the chapters written from his point of view I knew immediately it was him.  I didn't want it to be him.  I didn't want it to be that easy.  I wanted to be stunned, or at least a little surprised when the killer was brought to justice.  Nope, no such luck.  It was exactly who I thought it was.  Yawn.

After I finished the book, I had to resist the temptation to chuck it across the room.  Instead I held it in my hands and thought 'Why?  Why did you get published when thousands of others out there who are probably more deserving don't?  How does that happen?'

I know I'm not the only one out there who has had this experience.  If anyone else is feeling a little snarky today please share your 'I can't believe this got published, let alone got so much critical and popular acclaim' book.  And no fair using any of the Twilight series.  I think anyone over the age of 13 and not hopelessly smitten with Edward or Jacob will agree that those books would have benefited from going through the revision process another time or twenty.


Piedmont Writer said...

Thanks for the snark. So sorry your family is sick.

I agree with you 100% when reading something that is so hyped and then it turns out to be garbage. Truthfully, that's why I don't read anymore. I'm sick of the trash.

KarenG said...

I've experienced this too many times. Which is why it's such a thrill when I read one of the critically acclaimed books that is totally worth it and deserving, like Eat,Pray,Love. A few that disappointed me, Catching Fire, The Lovely Bones, and The DaVinci Code.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Haha!! I don't mind your snark. It's funny ;)

Yeah, I do try my best to be positive too, although it can be really really hard sometimes...but I find injecting a bit of humor into the negative things usually helps put a more positive spin on it. Err, sometimes. When the humor actually works. Ha!

But yeah, hate it when that happens with books. But what better way to learn for your own writing, right? (see? totally putting a positive spin on it. Yahoo! hehe)

Crystal Cook said...

Sorry your family is sick! That's miserable, we just got over that junk! I just read a book like that not too long ago. So much hype and the writing was just terrible!

Paragraphs that were like the whole page long just full of description! The pace was so back and forth. And the character's were wooden. But that kind of inspires me to work even harder with my writing.

And you're allowed to snark every once in a while I think :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

There are quite a few picture books out there that make me shake my head and wonder. :-)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Yes, I have experienced this so many times. Can't think of titles now, but there are more than a dozen I thought were complete rubbish :) It happens all the time. But, that being said, one person's trash is another person's treasure ...

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

It's difficult to name any titles because those are books I tend to forget about immediately - they just don't resonate with me, they don't stick around.

I know that feeling though! I have chucked my share of books over the years.

Kaylie said...

I think that's very true about some books, but the ones that disappoint me are often the ones others each his own, I suppose.

E. Elle said...

I agree with Rebecca: if that happens, I tend to forget them pretty quick. But I know I've encountered them, over and over again. It's so frustrating. And it gets even worse when I start thinking, "do I have to write this bad in order to be published?"

Applause for snarkiness - we all need it every once in a while. ;o)

Jaydee Morgan said...

I've read many of book that made me wonder how it was published. Usually, though, it makes me more determined - if that can get published, then there's still hope! Other times, it just leaves me frustrated.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I read a book recently that I came across when the author mentioned it on twitter. I like to support my blogging and twitting friends so I gave it a go.
There was a lot I liked about the book, the pace was great and I thought it was a good example to novice writers on the importance of keeping the momentum in a narrative. The only thing I didn't like was the end - it seemed to just deflate as if the author was bored with the story now. In fact the protagonist wasn't even conscious at the end, so it feels like leaving a party after the host has gone to bed. Was enough to sour everything good about the book - readers deserve a dynamic ending!

Jen said...

Sorry your family isn't feeling well, hope they are better soon!!

I love the snarkinees sometimes it's needed!!! I don't have any direct names at the moment but I can completely relate with the feeling, I just hope that no one says that about my book when I've worked so hard to write it!

Angie Paxton said...

AA, I know. It's so strange how you can think something is awful and then have someone tell you it's the best book you've ever read. Guess all those form rejects aren't lying when they say its a subjective business.

Kaylie, I know. Isn't that so weird. I posted this and then I thought I shouldn't have because I just knew somebody would comment that Circle of Souls was the best book they've read all year. I'm glad that didn't happen. I guess it just shows the importance of querying widely because one agent's trash is another agent's treasure.

Jen, that is my biggest fear! I don't want to be a Stephenie Meyer. Sure she's rich, but her writing has been so picked apart publicly. It's got to bother her on some level. I think I'd rather have a book that didn't make much money, but that people thought was well written.

For the rest of you guys, I figured out how to respond via email so check your inboxes. Thanks all for commenting!

Al said...

This has happened to me so many times.
Unfortunately I think I get more impatient the more I read.
See you aren't the only one feeling snarky!


Publish or Perish

Lola Sharp said...

So Many Times this happens. You can actually see where the writer fell apart and sorta just patched it together.
Then you wonder about the agent and publisher.

Worse yet, is these often become best sellers!

I could name some books, but I hate the thought of hurting an authors feelings.

J.D. Roa said...

I don't want to get attacked by Kurt Vonnegut fans. The first book I ever read by him was "Breakfast of Champions." I was very excited because all my lit friends said it was hilarious, life-altering, etc. For me, it was paper-bound failed sarcasm with cute pictures. "Breakfast of Champions" nearly ruined my desire to investigate further into Vonnegut's writing, but I also ended up reading "Cat's Cradle" and "Slaughter-House Five," which were both very good (especially the latter).

I also found this one book on a bench entitled "She's My Wife" by Rebecca Winters. It was a Harlequin "Super Cop" series book. Anyway, I read it all in one sitting (my first Harlequin ever) and I couldn't understand how the story got published. There were more plot holes in that things than a cheese grater.

Palindrome said...

Oh, there are a few I could name but I will not because they could be someone's favorite.

Book taste is similar to food taste...everyone's different.

I try to keep that in mind when I read something so obvious and horribly edited. ;P