Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Novels Diverged on a Messy Desk

How is everyone’s April coming along? How are the A to Z bloggers and non-A to Z bloggers holding up? I’m still working on revisions and am moving slowly through RhyPiBoMo. It’s a good kind of slow, as I’m fascinated with all the things I can learn in the field of poetry, rhyme, and verse… Now, onto my post!

Recently, I began reading two novels at the same time. No names. I read the first few chapters of Book A. Then I began reading Book B. If Book B hooked me more than Book A, I was going to continue on with Book B. Book B hooked me a little, but Book A was a much better read. So I returned to Book A and finished it. 

Before I continue, I should add that my intent behind this post isn't to openly knock on an unidentified book or author, but for me to show an exercise I did where I reflected more carefully about my reading experiences so I can be a better writer.  

So here's what distinguished the beginning of the two books from each other:
-The language: Very pretty prose filled Book B. I imagined the author using a thesaurus to replace all the ordinary words with more sophisticated-sounding words to gloss up the language. (For the record, glossed up language doesn’t improve an undeveloped story.) While one could argue that the fancy word choice was intended to reflect voice, I found this particular pretty prose distracting me from the story itself. The language of Book A, on the other hand, was strong but easily melted away while I read, clearing the way for me to visualize the story past the dark print on the page.

-The characters: Both authors applied the character cookie cutter in some way. In Book A, the cookie cutter characters were not leading characters. They seemed to be there to establish the setting and perhaps connect the reader to the story. That worked for me. Yes, I know people like that from this environment.  In Book B, the leading characters seemed...a bit predictable. 

That said, now that I'm done with Book A, I might still give Book B another chance someday.

Side note...Admitting that Book A is commercial fiction and that Book B is considered literary might paint me as a shallow reader. But there are obviously such things as high-quality commercial fiction and mediocre literary fiction. Yet from my observations, I find that commercial fiction is often considered "guilty pleasure" reading while literary fiction is what people want to brag about liking, even if they found it tiresome to plow through certain parts. This time, I preferred the story of commercial fiction over the literary one. 

What book have you read where the print on the page melted away as you read? 
Would you be comfortable sharing you like a story of commercial fiction over a literary one?