This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sookie burn-out - What a disappointment!

Why does bad writing happen to good story ideas??? Oh, why?

I was enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse series. But now that I'm in the middle of book 6, Definitely Dead, I have to say this is showing how terrible it is when ideas that have potential are executed so badly. Quite disappointing.

I'll submit this: Charlaine Harris is a pretty good storyteller, but really a pretty bad writer. There are so many reasons to say this, and the very, very least of them are the striking misuse of vocabulary that one wouldn't expect from a purveyor of the language.

1 - The wonderful beginning of the series - ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances - is destroyed as the series progresses. As an observer of this imaginary universe, it seems that there are virtually no humans left on the planet. No contrast whatsoever; it's all supes all the time and the depth that gives the reader some orientation in this universe is lost.

2 - Why all the boyfriends? Even in other series this is not normal. Man, it's like some kind of manic reaction or something. Can we please just stick to one or two guys and actually explore a relationship?

3 - This brings me to the bad writing. Harris does whatever she feels will make an exciting story, and if that means major inconsistencies - far more than other professional writers - and incongruous behavior by characters (Sookie is smart but does some massively and unbelievably stupid things), then so be it, I guess.

4 - This leads to there not being a backbone to the series. No general guiding direction. We, the readers, don't need to be aware of it - we shouldn't, actually - but we should feel it. It's like she's making it up as she goes along the way you make up a story at a campfire. The characters don't work. The story has no integrity.

5 - Harris can do what she wants with her books - they're hers, anyway - but she should take care of a good idea if she has one. She discards her good ideas the way other people waste food. A reader should be insulted by this. It is irresponsible for a writer to pluck an idea out of the world of storyline possibilities that exist in our collective imagination and to then treat it so badly. To top it off, on Harris's site, she gives a curt response to why she doesn't like fan fiction. But, my goodness, someone has to do it right.

6 - There are so many interesting and juicy ideas wrapped up in the characters and fantastical element in the books readers could chew on if Harris chose to explore them. But she doesn't. Perhaps she doesn't recognize the possibilities, or perhaps she does, but doesn't know how to realize it.

7 - Finally, the careless/non-existent proofreading by editors doesn't help. It's like no one cares about the product.

Opinions, anyone?

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