ok... so yesterday i get a book, i couldn't figure out which of the trilogy was first (which should have been my first sign) so i got the omnibus version.
the premise was interesting, a slave who turns out to be a mage... nothing new but i've run out of things to read so give it a shot.
i was treated to one of the most poorly written first paragraphs i have ever seen.
still i figured "maybe this author just feels like you need to get all the exposition out of the way before you set the scene... maybe it'll get better"
i will never know because when the character was described as not tall (5'8") handsome, lithe but otherwise unremarkable with clear blue eyes and the pick of the litter.... yeah i returned that book so fast (one of the great features about the kindle is if you don't like a book you can return it up to one week from purchase.) and pouted cause i was back to having nothing to read...
i dunno i just feel like if there was a "do not" list for writing it would including things like "do not use pure exposition, show don't tell" and "avoid an author insert/perfect/mary sue type characters at all cost" or perhaps. "if a person starts counting the amount of times you use a word in one page it's time you pick a new word"
but more then all of that.... those opening lines have to make the reader want to continue.
the opening to this book was essentially "he was looking up at the sky enjoying his last day of freedom cause tomorrow he would be a slave"
ok... who is he, why do i care if he's a slave or not? what makes him the pick of the litter, why are we in a world mostly ruled by women, did his mom really hate him cause he was male or is there more to it? why do i even remotely care?
and then when those things are explained it's all exposition."he was this and he did this for himself and thats why he was in this situation"
to use an example from the last series i finished... the opening line is...
Earl Hubert pressed a delicate silver goblet against his fat lips. He sucked down the mouthfuls of wine without even taking a breath. The sound of his slurping reverberated obnoxiously off the dining room ceiling, but the servants, ringed around the walls, kepr their eyes trained carefulyl on the floorso first things first... the scene is set, this guy (who isn't the main character) is a loathsome slob with a lot of power... we want him to get his comeuppances in a few short lines. the scene has been set as a place where there are those who have and those who don't have and there is a huge class gap made bigger simply by the fact that the poor can't obtain wealth.
now lets look at the main characters introduction.
Kael took a deep breath. He let it out slowlyhm... i'm intrigued but still have no idea what this kid is up to... lets see
"today is the day" he said, for about the hundredth time that morning. he hoped that if he said it often enough he might actually start to believe itSEE THAT... that right there... that one line we know two things about kael
1. he has little to no confidence in his abilities... his words are laced with self doubt to the point where even a mantra isn't helping.
2. he has been attempting something for a long time and constantly failing at it... why else would he need the mantra.
do i know how tall he is? no... the build of his body? nope... the colour of his hair or eyes.... NOPE becuase right now that shit doens't matter... what matters is that he has a task he is determined to accomplish even though he doesn't think he'll make it.
we do find out later about his hair and build but again it's through showing... his hair is a mix of red and brown that defines his heritage and sets him apart from his peers and makes him the source of ridicule.... he's aso scrawny and clumsy which doesn't help the others see him as an asset. the scene once again has been set without going "he was this that and the other thing as well as being this way but not that way"
just... no.... no... stop telling me this shit.... show it to me...
so today i got another book, well reviewed on amazon, interesting premise... i like stories where people are sent from one world to another...
so i open it up and it's damn near a repeat of yesterday
another lithe, athletic but not bulky, handsom buy shy yet has all the ladies attention...
why does that matter
it doesn't... if this person cut out the description of this kid it would be better... if they had him drinking protien shakes but never bulk up it would be better.... just... for crying out loud.... set the scene before you dump the exposition.... and even then weave the exposition into the narrative.
now... this book is better writing wise then the one yesterday so i'm giving it the chapter.... but if i don't care by then... i'm finding something else... cause damnit i want to read a good book while i'm recovering.
edit: i lied... i can't give this the rest of the chapter...
the author used the word despite 4 times in one page
described the handsom scrawny althletic kis as also being loved by ladies and also he's a nerd who loves math and science so he;s a nerd but popular and he's waiting for college acceptance letters cause the airforce turned him down, now his dad is disappointed.
GAH..... i don't care
show me that shit... here i'll do it for you.
The trip home from school is a long and treacherous journey, worry filled every crevasse of his mind. so much relied on a single piece of paper. he couldn't help but hold his breath as he checked the mail. A letter with the air force logo in in amongst the letters, it's thin, he knows that this is going to be an interesting conversation with his father, yet another disappointment to add to the list.now i'm not a good writer but you get my point... you don't need to say "he didn't get in and his father is disappointed" and using words like journey hint at the fact that he will be sent to a magical world later on...
just ugh... words having meaning... they have power... why would you squander it with exposition...
okay... round three... time to find a good book... or so help me the kindle may end up thrown across the room.