Thursday, September 8, 2011

All About Nothing...

The smaller type says: Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.

Why is it that some books can be about nothing at all, really, and become the biggest award winners ever?

I know you can and will come up with dozens of answers on your own, but this is what I've got banging around my skull right now. I just finished reading a book (I won't name which) that was just this. You could say it was about devotion, love, power. BUT nothing is ever really explained, there are extremely trashy people in it, doing trashy things (a book btw that I wouldn't have normally picked up, but didn't know by the back flap or the first chapter that things would go this way), living out their trashy, albeit, devoted-to-each-other-lives.

The thing is, I kept reading.


(I'm still asking myself this question).

Because the prose were fabulous, catchy, and clever (in a dark way). I like dark, but not usually this dark. I don't read books where people use harsh language, sleep around, drink, do drugs. It just isn't my thing. If it's your thing, fine. The thing about this book is, that the author was brilliant. I have to admit that even though I didn't like parts of it. Somehow she kept me turning the pages. And even though I won't recommend this book, based solely on my own set of principles, I did learn something from her:

There is a lot you can do with words. If you learn only one lesson from this post, let it be that words hold so much power that when used correctly they can make the reader do crazy things, like finish a book they didn't intend to finish. So, use that power wisely.

The next book you read, pay attention (and hopefully you're reading at a very skilled hand) to how compact things are. No miss-used words, no unimportant words. Using the limited to paint the large picture in a fresh and unexpected way.

I may have not appreciated this book for everything that was in it, but I did appreciate that.

(Now, if we can get someone this talented to write fantasy. That'll be the kicker. Time to shift writing styles to all worlds. I promise to try harder myself. Will you?)


Jenna Cooper said...

Believe me, I've asked myself this many times. Some books can just suck you in with their writing alone, it's amazing. Others you just can't connect to the writing for whatever reason, and even if things are happening in it, you can put it down. I puzzle and worry about my own work in that way.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Yes, I agree. Sometimes I wonder if people with 'get' what I'm talking about. Sometimes I can be a little quirky.