‘Another Literary Crime’

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There are many things a writer can do to wreck his own work. One of them is to make the reader think that you think he’s a dunce who can’t tell good from evil.

Another Literary Crime

Why else would the author continually editorialize about his characters? How badly do we need to be told that the villain is a bad guy? Page after page after page?

And yet we see this, sometimes in fantastically successful best-selling books. Never mind that those books will be forgotten someday, while better books live on. For the time being, they’re selling like hotcakes.

I think it’s just further evidence that we’re living in a fallen world.

5 comments on “‘Another Literary Crime’

  1. A similarly maddening habit of some “cozy” mystery writers in the past couple of decades is to have everyone (well, everyone who isn’t a villain) talk constantly about how wonderful the heroine is. Ugh. Meanwhile, the reader hasn’t seen anything particularly wonderful that the heroine has done except … well, except somehow get everyone to say how wonderful everything she does is.

    In this class of mysteries, very often the heroine runs some kind of retail shop that’s a wild success — although it’s hard to imagine that, for example, a cupcake-only bakery shop could survive in the small town that these mysteries are always set in. Or a gift shop in a small town that has a short — or nonexistent — tourist season and not much of an online presence. (Even then, local gift shops don’t do well online in competition with well-established companies like Miles Kimball and Harriet Carter.) Or any other kind of small-town specialty shop selling nonrepeat-purchase items such as clocks, buttons, specialty papers, etc., without a nationally established network of supply sources as well as clientele.

    Sorry. I just find these books annoying. Sometimes I don’t even bother finishing them, but instead waste a lot of time afterward in mentally explaining to the author what’s wrong with the plot, the characters, the artificial dialogue, and the business plan (or work habits) of the heroine.

  2. Well Lee, be that as it may–the fallen world thing–I think a bad writer will do that and because of the fact that they are bad writers will continuously remind readers how bad they are at writing bad narrative.
    That’s why it is so important to show the reader how villainous the antagonist rather than remind the reader over and over and over again that Snidely is evil.

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