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Read this book if you want to know how NOT to write...

 
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WelshPixie
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:44 pm    Post subject: Read this book if you want to know how NOT to write... Reply with quote

A few months ago I spent £7.99 on 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke. Normally it takes me one to two days to read a book, whether it's brilliant, good, moderate or mediocre. After some three months of trying to read it, I've only got as far as half way through chapter five.

Why?

Because every time I pick up the book and read some three pages, I'm falling asleep.

It's absolutely atrocious. The language is terrible (I get the impression she wanted to come across as some sort of Dickens-style writer but she failed miserably) and her use of the Old English spellings is nothing other than thoroughly annoying. The characters are bland and boring, the dialogue is tedious - the only thing going for it is the possible originality of the plot (which I can't confirm since I can't far enough into the book to determine whether or not the plot is a redeeming feature).

Then there's the footnotes. The footnotes in this book make up complete little stories of their own and are totally unecessary. I thoroughly believe that any good writer should be able to incorporate any necessary information into the main body of the book without having to resort to lengthy footnotes - and should know which parts are necessary to the story and which aren't. Footnotes are hellishly annoying and detract from the flow of the story. It's like watching a movie with someone and having to pause every five minutes when they ask you what's going on 'cause they haven't seen it before. Just watch the goddamn movie and get on with it!!

I'm left completely perplexed as to how this 'book' has had such high acclaim. I can't find ANYTHING that I consider worthy of even the slightest bit of praise - other than perhaps how she managed to fill up so many pages with such absolutely f*ing awful waffle and get it published.

How the hell DID she get it published?? Dan Brown is a literary genius compared to this woman.

So, I want my money back - and this is the first time EVER I've been so unsatisfied with anything, especially a book, that I've wanted my money back. And I want Susanna Clarke to give me back my £7.99 herself, please.

*rant rave fume*
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DonnaG
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eeeeekk!! I bought this book for my daughter while I was over in England. Small wonder she only opened it once for like ten minutes after Christmas ...
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WelshPixie
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does she have an open fire? Kindling, maybe? Wink
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DonnaG
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No open fire in her university dorm but she could use it as a doorstop, I guess.
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Shannon's Auntie
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took it on holiday with me and only took one other book, so I was compelled to read it.

Once I got into it, I loved it. It was brilliant. Really wonderful.

Sorry not to agree. Snooty
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WelshPixie
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shannon's Auntie wrote:
Once I got into it, I loved it. It was brilliant. Really wonderful.


Well that's the only reason I've read as much as I have - I keep thinking, these critics must have cought on to something - maybe it gets better. But since I can only manage some three pages at a time before I have to put it down to fall asleep, it's a slow process getting through it, hehe.
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santhere
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I voluntarily read fantasy novels, most of which is literate drivel Laughing
For some reason it doesn't bother me... I wonder why Whistle
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GaryH
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh no my alter ego's been rumbled...
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graeme



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pixielator

Calm down, dear, it's a book. Am in agreement with you, though, in that it's not a very good one. I stuck with it a little longer than you did - read about three-quarters. But I got to the stage whjere I stopped caring what happened to anyone - that's usually the signal for me to stop; there are too many other books in the world to spend time reading ones you don't like.

Don't entirely agree with your footnote comments. There's a place for them. David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest uses them (some of them run for entire pages) - in this instance they're really a part of the story's structure. It's a weally weally big book and I've never met anyone else who's read it. It's good though quite annoying at times.

But I can see how you wouldn't want to use footnotes if you were, say, writing a novel based on the role-playing adventures of characters invented by a group of spotty youths playing D'n'D Wink *

Graeme




*Throws dice-type thing with lots of sides. Oh no. Runs into a m-m-monster. Never mind. Am an elf with tons of experience. Will give it a kicking. Don't mess with the elves.
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WelshPixie
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

graeme wrote:
But I can see how you wouldn't want to use footnotes if you were, say, writing a novel based on the role-playing adventures of characters invented by a group of spotty youths playing D'n'D Wink *

Graeme


*Throws dice-type thing with lots of sides. Oh no. Runs into a m-m-monster. Never mind. Am an elf with tons of experience. Will give it a kicking. Don't mess with the elves.


Fortunately for you, Mr Scotsman, I am a Pixie of infinite mirth and therefore found the above comments very gigglesome. Now, if I'd been a nymph instead of the Pixie that I am, it would be an entirely different story.

*grin*

(I like footnotes like Terry Pratchet uses. Short, succinct and funny. ^.^)
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Bebbet



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also guilty of slipping in the odd footnote. I try to keep them short and use them as simple little asides, but in early drafts I did use them far too much - as one reader pointed out - so cut them down heavily.

WelshPixie wrote:
(I like footnotes like Terry Pratchet uses. Short, succinct and funny. ^.^)


Terry Pratchett is a good example of them being used well. There's also the J.R.R. Tolkien method of using them to refer to appendices, giving the reader the option of looking up the extra info (though I never took advantage of that in LOTR).

James Herbert is someone who should use them, but doesn't. Instead he puts innumerable paragrphs of info in brackets, which I personnally think disrupts the flow even more.
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graeme



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pixie Chops wrote:
I am a Pixie of infinite mirth
Yep, was relying on that.
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Alan Sturgess
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Read this book if you want to know how NOT to write... Reply with quote

WelshPixie wrote:
A few months ago I spent £7.99 on 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke ....every time I pick up the book and read some three pages, I'm falling asleep ..... It's absolutely atrocious.


THREE PAGES!!??!!?? Shocked
You have more stamina than me.
I agree. This has to be one of the most hyped and worst written books I've ever encountered (apart from two notable bummers trying to hang on to Dan Brown's coat tails). A truly dismal affair. Mine went straight into the nearest charity shop.
GRUESOME!Wall
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Shannon's Auntie
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Read this book if you want to know how NOT to write... Reply with quote

Alan Sturgess wrote:
WelshPixie wrote:
A few months ago I spent £7.99 on 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke ....every time I pick up the book and read some three pages, I'm falling asleep ..... It's absolutely atrocious.


THREE PAGES!!??!!?? Shocked
You have more stamina than me.
I agree. This has to be one of the most hyped and worst written books I've ever encountered (apart from two notable bummers trying to hang on to Dan Brown's coat tails). A truly dismal affair. Mine went straight into the nearest charity shop.
GRUESOME!Wall


Umm, I took it to France last year and read it from cover to cover...

I must admit, I only took this book and Clinton's My Life for a 14 day holiday. Normally I take at least six books.

It was the only way to read them both - I was so desperate for reading material I had no choice.

I'm still trying to read The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. I bought it when it first came out (I think it's a first edition), because I ADORED her first book, The Secret History. I haven't got past page 23, though. I must go away for a week and take nothing else with me...
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