?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
02 January 2005 @ 08:42 pm
Understand me Spoono/Bloody hell I loved that girl  

Seeing as my relatives insist on buying me chicklit, despite the fact that every time they see me I have a Terry Pratchett permanently welded to my hand, I decided to post a little rant on those pondweed scum generally gifted with the (exceptionally generous) title of authors (of novels for girlies aged 20 - 65, generally with pink covers).

Oh, and gabbysun? 'prise for you, if you haven't already found it.</span>

Disclaimer: I never made any promises in the direction of coherence. Or, if it comes to that, niceness.

The authors to which I am referring are the ones I've read (and of course I read books that I'm given; I go through them too fast to pass up fresh meat, even if it's coated in saccharine). These are the Good (Fiona Walker, Jenny Colgan, Maeve Binchy) and the Oh So Very Bad (Cecelia Ahern, Cathy Kelly, Penny Vincenzi, Jilly Cooper, Patricia Scanlan, Marian Keyes, Marisa Mackle - and the rest).

First off, I reckon that the Irish publication system must be either very lax (which is a good thing in some ways, I suppose) or completely blind. Ahern used the word 'giggled' five times in TWO pages. Cathy Kelly has adverbism bad. Marian Keyes is better than them, but so, so boring. Not to mention that she broke the cardinal rule of novel-writing; you don't write a book about writing a book. You just don't. It smacks of dead plot bunnies, for one thing.

I don't care what anyone says; as a reader, I've picked up things. And being a writer isn't looking up from a saucepan one day and deciding 'ooh lawks, I think I'd fancy writing a book!' Being technically able to write (or type, whatever) does not, I repeat, not, make you a writer. Most people in the West today have a pretty high standard of literacy. Quite a lot of these can dash off a very polished business letter, or diary entry (snerk), or even a fact-based article. What the vast majority of them cannot do is write fiction.

You need to play with things if you want to write well, and not just words. So much hinges on the syntax, something these pretty blond Irishwomen haven't copped (not surprising, given the state of our education system). The lack of a semi-colon can turn what could have been a brilliant sentance into a mere string of words. Commas are vital. Hey you, Scanlan! (Get offa my cloud!) That is to say, guess what? You can write a sentence longer than five words, you know! You can put in commas instead of full stops on occasion so that your reader doesn't  get the impression that they're being peppered with bullets! Hey you, Ahern! (No really, get OFF of my cloud. I'm warning you.) You shouldn't write sentences longer than thirteen words unless you're aiming at the authorship of a cure for insomnia.

IT IS SO VITAL TO READ. Other books are where you gain inspiration - one idea can be taken, enlarged, blown up, shaped into something of your own. Other books are where you learn from other's mistakes (one thing chicklit is good for, granted). Other books are where you learn how to write.

I swear to god, they can't do empathetic characterisation to save their lives. Except for in the Good's books, the characters are either stultifyingly dull, going on endless diets, or Mary-Sues. All the perfect, pretty girls are bitches who get predictable, moralistic karma-slaps in the end. All the overweight boring ones who have self-esteem problems effortlessly attract lovely, handsome men who in real life might be able to appreciate their other qualities - except that in chicklit, oops! Why, the author forgot to give them any! Not to mention that you really shouldn't talk about high fashion unless you really know about it. If I see one more Nicole Fahri suit on someone I WILL SCREAM. Way to show the world that Ireland's idea of haute-couture style is, really, Marks and Spencers, eh?

Not to mention their awful, sterotyped, undeveloped representations of gay people. The gay men are all hairdressers or interior designers. The gay women all wear dungarees. They are in terminal need of a slash transplant. Although I wouldn't be surprised if they were already Suethors, in the 'Lucius' Temporary Uterus' mode...

Plots. Handy things, I think many will agree. Three best girlfriends? So tired it's dead. Romance? Yeah, but anything else? Please? I will beg. Predictable romance? Gag me. Show me a book by any of the Bads that I can't tell the outcome of from anywhere between the second chapter to the middle of the book and I'll die of shock. 

Maeve Binchy is the only Irish writer worth reading. She really captures something truly Irish, without resorting to anything green or leprechaun-shaped. Nor does she subliminate Ireland into one city (Dublin) and its culture, such as it is, into Sex and the City-wannabe. The other two Goods, you will notice, are English. (Jenny Colgan writes amazingly like cynicalpirate, actually - compliment!)</span>

gabbysun , hon, I tol' you it'd be up in a week and it is! You'll probably find it anyway, as williceetoile , but my lj will have my fanfiction in it, godsdammit.

Chapter Nine (A City Visible But Unseen)

Summary: In which work begins on renovating the PE Hall in time for the fundraising St Patrick's Day dance, secrets are uncovered, Pansy attempts some mafioso-style blackmail, and paint and soggy biscuits lead to greater things.

http://www.schnoogle.com/authors/alvira/ACVBU08.html


 
 
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: 'Grazed Knees', Snow Patrol
 
 
 
i'm an engine driver: Oh the incest.brachiosaurid on January 2nd, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC)
That might possibly be the funniest icon I've seen in awhile. xDDDDDDDDDDDDD
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: sex cauldronscoradh on January 2nd, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
Isn't it though? xD

...although the fact that the 'i' is not in capslock is causing me great pain that I try desperately to hide...
(no subject) - cynicalpirate on January 3rd, 2005 04:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cynicalpirate on January 3rd, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 4th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 4th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 5th, 2005 11:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 7th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Liz_eliza_b on January 2nd, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)
How'd you get into my head?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: hemingwayscoradh on January 2nd, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
*blinks* Magic, of course!

I take it you've been burned by the pink, too?
(no subject) - _eliza_b on January 3rd, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 4th, 2005 12:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Caitcoralia13 on January 2nd, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
Isn't it fun to have a good rant? I think we should all be allowed to have one at least once a day. It's so gratifying. I had a very good one about a girl in my dorm of which I was not unreasonably proud, though I didn't get to deliver it as much as I would have liked. Of course, I would have liked to deliver it to her face. Never would, though. Yours was very well stated.
I have not actually read much chick lit. For the last several years, my reading has been restricted to Harry Potter and school assigned reading, ie the Brontes, James Joyce, Mary Shelley, etc.

By the way, I saw some of Pratchett's books at the store yesterday and got really excited! I will have to get them this summer when I have some time. Which would you recommend.

I just finished reading Ch. 10 of A City. SO GOOD! I feel so special, knowing what's going on before anyone else!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on January 3rd, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
It is. I guess too many people annoy me to rant about them extensively, or I'd never be stopping...xD

I feel like a plebe. :(

Ooh ooh, my favourites are:

Men At Arms
Hogfather
Small Gods
Interesting Times
Pyramids

I'd start with either Small Gods or Men At Arms, to be honest.

What, all ten of ye? *snerk* Still, I'm glad you like it - it would be amazingly awful if you had to trawl though 20 pages a pop and despised it! <33
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 4th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 4th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 5th, 2005 11:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 7th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 8th, 2005 05:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 8th, 2005 09:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 8th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 8th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 3rd, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 4th, 2005 12:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 4th, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 5th, 2005 11:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 7th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 8th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 8th, 2005 09:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 8th, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 8th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 8th, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 8th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 9th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 9th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 10th, 2005 10:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 10th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 11th, 2005 11:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on January 11th, 2005 11:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Insufferable, man.: weddingscynicalpirate on January 3rd, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
Must read Jenny Colgan now...
Before I discovered pottersues, my friend and I used to read chicklit and Jackie Collins with the sole purpose of mocking it when we'd finished. I'm therefore no stranger to Ms. Keyes, but the Holy Grail of bad writing has to be Jemima J, by Jane Green.

It is absolutely ludicrous how WTF that book is. I will type you out the blurb, so you can get an idea.

Jemima Jones is overweight. About seven stone overweight.

Treated like a slave by her thin and bitchy flatmates, lorded over at the Kilburn Herald by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented, but better paid) her only consolation is food. What with that and her passion for her charming, sexy colleague Ben, she knows her life needs changing.

But can Jemima reinvent herself? Should she?


And the very last sentence in the book:

But fairytales can come true, and just like Jemima Jones, or Mrs Ben Williams as she's known outside of the glossy magazine where she works, if we trust in ourselves, embrace our faults, and brazen it out with courage, strength, bravery and truth, fate may just smile upon us too.

*laughs hysterically* She lost the weight, by the way. In about two days. And gave up smoking with the greatest of ease.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: godscoradh on January 3rd, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Must read Jenny Colgan now...
Oh, I SO WANT TO READ THAT NOW. NOT.

Jeez, why do they bother? I swear to god, if you're not going to write something that actually means something, that people could relate to, that is LIKEABLE, then why the hell would you bother.

*laughs hysterically at your last line*

Yes. I think you ARE Jenny Colgan, and you're just not telling us.
Nah mates. Tunes. - scoradh on January 3rd, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bat crimeiceetoile on January 4th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
dude! I love seeing my name in print (well, linky typing, anyway) because it's EXCITING and new. Anyway, new fanfic! Huzzah! I think I reviewed your last chapter of ACVBU when I was not hugely sober too, I think maybe I'd better check on that.

Totally agree with you on the chicklit. Every time there's a concentration of presents (birthday, Christmas) everyone always gets a variety of crappy, gender centered books which are impossible to finish, because hey! What's the point? You already worked out the end anyway! So, yeah, I'm not a huge fan of it.

You should read Kurt Vonnegut, he's a dude. It' in the Pterry variety of sci-fi, where it's not actually about science, and he's pretty cool. The Three Sirens of Titan (I think it's that; maybe something similar) is way cool.

Also, love the new layout, dude! journalling on the left, fanfic on the right. My kinda girl.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Godscoradh on January 4th, 2005 12:32 pm (UTC)
It's kinda cool, hey? I read your review and wibbled in shame, because yes, there were too many Cedrics and I cannot spell fourth. That's it, EVERY CHAPTER will just have to be resubmitted for crapness.

I do finish them, mostly, because it's like giving my brain time off, really.

Oh, cool! Hopefully they stock him over here!

Thanks! *blushes* My darlink gabbysun bought me some paid time and I went wild. And now I can get straight to my fav fanfic! How bad!
bat crimeiceetoile on January 4th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
so can you only do special stuff with your layout if you have paid time? damnit, I was thinking of doing a bit of, um, experimenting. But now I can't anyway because huzzah, I have broken my LJ. I really have this time. How the hell do I manage to do this to myself? I don't even know what I did.

sorry sorry sorry about the nasty and picky review. I am MEAN. But also obsessed with grammar, so hey, what can I do?

Now I will be going straight to your fav fanfic. tee hee.
(no subject) - scoradh on January 4th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - iceetoile on January 5th, 2005 05:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on January 5th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
gabbysun on January 11th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
OMG CHICKLIT IS TERRIFYING.
. . . BAD BOOKS ARE INEXCUSABLE!? xD;

Anyway, I don't touch any of the "modern" teen books at my bookstores . . . seriously, they're terrible! Almost weepable, really.

But now I must extoll the wonders of your fic, so here I go. xD

. . . OMG PETER/"VOLDEMORT". THAT IS SO PRECIOUS.

And I really can't quote from it or I'll just end up copy/pasting all of it, but you know, the fic is getting better and better.

Pansy is being such a butthole. I am so completly ready for more. MORE, I SAY.

And poor poor Remus. :( More Remus love please? It's depressing me, because I love your Remus. xD

The Hermy-own/Draco and Blaise/Harry interaction . . . so sweet. It's like warm fluffy feelings. xD LOVELY.

I am reading Chapter 9 as I type, and will give you a glee-fest after I finish. ;D
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on January 11th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Re: OMG CHICKLIT IS TERRIFYING.
What can I say? *overwhelmed* Considering that I'm completely ambivalent, I all like 'shock and awe!' that someone actually reads my stuff, not to mention likes it! I'm so glad you do. xD

*sporks chicklit*
Re: OMG CHICKLIT IS TERRIFYING. - gabbysun on January 12th, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
gabbysun on January 11th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)
DUDE CHAPTER-A NINE-A
OMG HAHA PANSY SUCKS. xD

But seriously. :( NOT COOL.

And it is too excellent not to quote so I'm going to be doing that once I get home, since class is almost over.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on January 11th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
Re: DUDE CHAPTER-A NINE-A
She does; and she has a pug face too, CANON!

Oh dear, I'm distracting you from school? My bad. *slaps own wrist*
Re: DUDE CHAPTER-A NINE-A - gabbysun on January 12th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)