Friday, July 31, 2009

Half-Baked Novels Bring Me Down

Here we are in August, and the digital download version of Ghost Notes the Audio Book is nowhere to be found! Rest assured I'm working on it. You can always order a burned copy here.

Do you want to know my least favorite thing about reading contemporary novels?

My least favorite thing in the whole world is getting past chapter one, or page fifty, or somewhere in the middle, and feeling the quality of the prose take a nosedive.

I started a novel a couple of weeks ago and was blown away immediately. The author--a famous guy you've probably heard of if you follow these kinds of things--was clearly playing in a league of his own. The prose sparkled. It was funny, insightful, intriguing, the product of a great craftsperson. "Awesome," I thought. "A new writer to love."

Then, at around page 40, the prose took an abrupt turn down Mediocrity Street. All of a sudden, the characters weren't fully developed, the language was less-than-sparkling, the plot felt like the author was connecting dots as opposed to writing a novel.

Hey, I know how it is, man. The temptation to want--to need--the thing to be finished gets overwhelming. You get the first fifty pages polished, and all of a sudden you run out of time, patience or creative energy and decide the damn thing is done and send it off.

And the industry--agents, editors, etc.--might prefer a completely polished manuscript, but in my experience as a reader they clearly aren't committed to it.

To keep me reading, your novel need not be perfect--I've read plenty of less-than-perfect novels and haven't hated it--but there needs to be a sustained quality to the prose from Page One to The End. I need to feel like you care on page 100, 200, 300, etc. Hell, you're the writer. If you don't care, why should I?

I won't mention the title of the book that so recently took a turn for the ol' crapper--mostly because it would shift the focus of my blog to this book, which is totally unfair because I've experienced this nosedive many times when reading contemporary work--but this author can bet I won't be buying his next.

Not that he'll lose any sleep over it.

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Ghost Notes, the novel or brand new audio book.

Buy Songs from Memory, the album

Buy Stuck Outside of Phoenix, the novel

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