Thursday, August 21, 2008

How on EARTH did this make it past the editors?

I've been reading a lot of what I consider "junk" novels lately. You know, books that are purely for entertainment, no real "value" to them, no lasting message, yada yada. I've been devouring them, reading one after another, and not really paying much attention to them.

Well, I've just finished one, and I just have to talk about it. Not because the book changed my life in any meaningful way...or maybe it has. This book is a New York Times Bestseller. The author has published over sixty books. She started her novels, according to Wikipedia, because she was reading a particularly bad romance novel and threw it across the room, asserting that even she could write better.

And this is what she has come up with as "better:"

'We're sitting here like two folks who've been sitting here for a very long time.'

Are you friggin' kidding me?

She's big into similes, this author. Some of the other gems from this same book:

'She pushed away from him to see him grinning like a thief who'd just lifted Bill Gates' wallet.'

'her laughter cut off like water from a spigot'

'the rain pelted hard against the windows like pebbles thrown hard by angry children'

'the tea tasted as dark as (his) eyes'

'he grinned like a schoolboy who'd just shot a three-pointer from twenty feet'

I'm more than a little floored that this kind of crap (and there was more...MUCH more) made it past the editor. I mean, at some point, wouldn't you think there'd be a little red ink taking pity on the reader? Yes, some similes are fine, and some can be really powerful, but really. This book is swamped with them, and I spent so much time thinking about the horrible similes that the rest of the book just kind of drifted by.

So where this was lifechanging was to decrease the intimidation factor about my own writing. I mean, if this stuff gets published and is a bestseller, that lowers the bar WAY down, in my opinion.

Anyway, sometimes I just have to pour this stuff out in the blog and rant until it's out of my head. You know, like a rant that emptied my head. mk


Anonymous said...

Her stuff has always irritated me, too. She's prolific, and occasionally will entertain me for an hour, but not a whole book's worth.

I'm all for mindless reading, but not *stupid*.

Anonymous said...

OMG those are awful!!! you will have to tell me who the author is.

Anonymous said...

P.S. LOLing at A1 and A2 in your description above. you are so funny sometimes.

Anonymous said...

but not all of the time.

markira said...

kate, I'm actually on a second book, which so far has WAY fewer of these awful similes, but also has very flat characters. I'm not sure why I am continuing to torture myself.

Ro, I'll do better...I'll give you a book & share the misery! And nope, not funny nearly enough of the time. :D

Anonymous said...

mk - ....why DO you continue to read those things...?

Have you ever seen the movie "Throw Momma From The Train", with Billy Crystal? In it, he taught a writing class. One lady's report had the line "His guts oozed, like a melted malted".....hahaha!

That movie still makes me laugh...


The Beast Mom said...

Yeah, those are bad.

From what I've been reading online about publishing, it seems more and more agents/publishers want material that's "ready to go" (meaning, they don't want to spend lots of time editing manuscripts). In some cases, this lack of attention really shows. And there are other books that are edited so excellently that they seem perfect. I don't know how an author finds someone truly helpful like that...