Pinging back at Paula.
I’m writing my book more than I ever have before. Actually getting somewhere. I’m also reading more. I’m reading a piece of historical fiction that is several things.
One, it’s in the same place and time period as mine.
Two, its characters are based on historical figures that appear in my book.
Three, it’s won a bunch of awards.
Four, it’s not very good. I mean reading it is painful.
And that’d be my peeve. I’m FB friends with the author and other writerly people we have in common and I feel like I can’t review this book honestly anywhere. All I can do is read it and, maybe, learn.
What’s the problem? One, the characters aren’t believable. They are believable enough as human beings. But they have particular occupations and I get the strong impression the author has no idea what kinds of people take up those occupations (they’re outside of polite society), what motivates them, what makes them tick. What makes these characters tick is the sort of shallow romance you get while pretending to romance in grade school. Oh, maybe it’s a Romance Novel. That’s not impossible. Augh.
Two, the writing really isn’t all that good. There is a lot of description and there is no lack of creative use of language. It just doesn’t work for me. A lot of the similes and like that are awkward and misplaced.
Three, not much tension. Things happen, some of them bad. But none of them are really very bad and all of them are easily resolved. None of them overlap. There’s actually no problem to solve that casts a shadow over the entire book. You’re really just following these people on their path, and while that’s legit, it doesn’t make you want to keep reading. I keep reading because I’m stubborn, I mean because I want to know what the author has happen. There’s nothing within the story itself that I care about.
As I said, they’re loosely based on real people, people I’ve researched and would like to write more than one book about, and I am therefore able to see that her research was very cursory … which is perfectly fine, since she’s writing about her own characters and not the historical ones. I just find all the distant parallels annoying. If you’re going to have parallels, either make them kind of accurate, or don’t have very many and instead come up with your own plot.
So, okay, the only proper thing to do is write my own book and get it out there and see if it’s bad too. Could be. Who knows.
And that’s a peeve for now. I have more.