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Old 07-13-2013, 05:30 PM   #46
crich70
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Interestingly, though, the "Bad Quarto" is regarded in itself as a pretty decent play, and it's quite often performed. It has the benefit of being much shorter than the "real" version.
Interesting. I had no idea that anyone was actually performing that version of the play. I've never seen it (Hamlet) performed live myself. Only movie versions starting with Lawrence Olivier's performance.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:29 PM   #47
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I think this is most obvious when a big name genre author switches editors, for whatever reason. When the next editor works on their work, it is rarely as good, because the new editor usually has a case of Author Awe and doesn't edit as effectively/ruthlessly as the editor who was there from the beginning. Early fans complain that the author has jumped the shark, but odds are the writer was always this weak - their first editor pushed it beyond those weaknesses.
That's a fascinating way of looking at it. I'll have to start watching the dynamics of author/editor swaps. I suspect that the author/agent relationship also plays a role. Some authors rely heavily on their agents for early story feedback.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:42 PM   #48
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That's a fascinating way of looking at it. I'll have to start watching the dynamics of author/editor swaps. I suspect that the author/agent relationship also plays a role. Some authors rely heavily on their agents for early story feedback.
I'd think it also could be a case of the author having had some success and letting it go to his/her head a bit so that they forget how much the editor contributed to the finished work. So that next time they neglect or ignore the editor's suggestions and the quality of the writing suffers as a result.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:42 AM   #49
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I'd think it also could be a case of the author having had some success and letting it go to his/her head a bit so that they forget how much the editor contributed to the finished work. So that next time they neglect or ignore the editor's suggestions and the quality of the writing suffers as a result.
Indeed. I've often thought that's something akin to what happened to Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, which dropped off precipitously after the fourth-fifth book (at the same time as she divorced, interestingly); all the mystery and detective work in the series sort of disappeared, to be replaced with a female protagonist who became naught more than a blow-up sex doll for a supernatural frat party. I always found it bizarre, but I do suspect that it's possible the first husband provided the actual plotting for the early books--which I liked a lot--and obviously wasn't willing to play that part once he'd been dumped.

Now, oddly enough, another note: I've finally abandoned finishing Dumas' The Three Musketeers, (after years of trying) and for anyone who is incredibly fond thereof, because they've only seen movie or TV versions, and never read it, I'd recommend sticking with--unbelievably--the video or celluloid versions. At 2/3rds of the way through reading how rollicking it was to be a quartet of penniless gigolos who openly stole from women and avidly avoided work of any kind, and rather heartlessly ruined marriages sans thought, the heroic movie versions of the foursome saving the French Queen or the nation, etc., are far more attractive. Plus...it's incredibly bloody BORING. The characters are flatly unlikable, there's a serious absence of plot, other than brawls which aren't even well-scripted, and, well...did I say, BORING? Granted, I'm sure it's more offensive now than it was when written, but I still don't know how this crew could have been perceived as remotely heroic in ANY era. They are simply itinerant laborers with swords, (not even very good swordsmen, BTW, unlike their Errol-Flynn-selves), frankly a step below Highwaymen, who at least worked for their coin instead of mooching it off women.

Other things that will put me off books: I'll stop reading if I find I'm skipping through large chunks of text. Now, this can be for a number of reasons; the aforementioned exposition, or worse, lectures. I read an historical novel some years back set at the time of the Chicago World's Fair, and my chin dropped when some female character stopped in the middle of a romantic walk and launched into a soliloquy about women's rights. I'm all for it, but it was jarring. It happened repeatedly in that book, and I only finished it because I'd promised a review (unfortunately).

I can't abide silly romances. Just cannot. Read a ridiculous romance book--was a set of 3-4 stories lent to me by a neighbor that she insisted I read ("it'll change your mind about romances") and nearly threw it across the room when the female protag, who marries a billionaire entrepreneur, starts sulking about how much TIME he's spending at WORK. She does this sulking while he's at the office, earning the shekels that keep her whining at her maid, cook, chauffeur, sipping champagne (you get the drift). The answer? Of COURSE not only does she leave him--he gives up his entrepreneurial life to spend his life with her, making her happy. I'm like, WTF? Sorry, but that's absurdist codswallop. Even if the husband was stupid enough to do this, (contraindicated by the whole, built his own billions-business concept) how long would that last? People don't build empires because it's accidental, they do it because that's WHO THEY ARE. The idea that this sulky cow would make him give it all up, when she knew what he was upfront..ridiculous. The whole time he's romancing her, initially, she whines to her Mommy about how "Daddy" was always at the office, which led to their unhappy home life...so she marries a billionaire, and then whines about it. The HEA is, he gives up everything for her? I threw the book back at my neighbor. Cannot stomach that type of tripe. If I see a book billed as a mystery, etc., heading off into too much "romance" category, I'll put it down now.

Following on that: far too much cross-genre, particularly, again, romance. Far, far too many female protags these days that are desired by EVERYONE. I mean, can we have a female supernatural protagonist that isn't wanted by everyone breathing, male and female alike? How about one that's ugly? Can detectives please stay detecting, instead of playing footsie with the ubiquitous (insert adjective here) handsome hottie that she cannot initially stand, that gets foisted on her by (insert relative, boss, circumstance here)?

Books that have been ruined for me by movies: Reacher. I'll never pick up Reacher again, because I can't brain-wash that poster with Tom Cruise on it out of my mind. It's just such sheer asininity that I can't bear to read Reacher any longer. It's the equivalent of having Rain played by Dominic Monaghan. URGH.

Another facet: (and this sounds like I'm anti-romance again, but it's not what I mean in this instance)...unbelievably, at some point a while back, and I do mean a WHILE back, I started putting down Spenser. When all the Spenser-Hawk repartee and action disappeared for endless details on Susan Silverman's dainty eating habits, or Pearl the dog, I gave up. Or her endless insightful comments as to how Spenser is the Man of Action, blah-blah-blah. (And if you've never read the western he wrote about Wyatt Earp, it's Spenser and Susan in Tombstone, seriously.) When Robert Crais had Elvis Cole meet some woman, for a book or so there I was actually frightened that Cole was going to be Silverman'ned, but he pulled out of the nosedive, thankfully.

If I can't grab onto a character I can like, or at least be intriqued by, in the first chapter, I'm outta here. I used to force myself to read through, but now, with a TBR pile the height of my house (literally), and thousands of unreads on my Kindle, it's just good pruning. I've found that very few writers of quality really leave you dangling that long, nowadays. I of course make exceptions for classic literature, but anything written contemporaneously...no.

I also gave up on the Kinsey Millhone series, because keeping Kinsey in the 1980's, sans computer, etc., just felt like a cop-out to me. It's easier to write suspense, mysteries, etc., when cellphones don't exist, computers don't exist, the Internet doesn't have the world at your fingertips; Rex Stout managed to move Archie and Wolfe through decades without batting an eyelash, I think that Sue Grafton should have moved Kinsey through the decades as well, instead of leaving her in what feels like a time warp. And an unsatisfactory one, too.

Characters that are avatars/caricatures of their writers: Watching Patricia Cornwell's descent into self-loathing via Scarpetta and rebirth via "Super-Lucy" was really repugnant to me. When her mysteries descended into some sort of uber-gothic mysterious over-arching plotline, with (literally) repetitive plotlines (like the thief in the office bit, and even down to the stolen scarf), asking us for crazy suspension of disbelief...man, that's just SAD. I had to put those down. Any series that starts to circle the bowl like that (Spenser, Scarpetta, Anita Blake, Millhone)...I'll put them down rather than watch the actual flush. (Although a friend of mine, whom I respect, says that the last Spenser was Parker's "old form," so I'm tempted, although there are probably at least ten books or more that I missed because I stopped reading them.)

And of course, everything that's been said before in this thread and the original Mother of All Threads on this topic: crap editing, spelling errors, homonym errors of ANY kind (one and I'm out and done), bad writing, and of course poor storytelling. I don't understand the tolerance that some readers have for badly written books--I don't. Just too many books, too little time. I still don't "get" the big hoo-hah over Dragon Tattoo, I don't. Yes, the creation of the female protagonist, Lisbeth Salander (sp?) was brilliant, but the rest? See above about protag becoming the writer's avatar and everybody falling into bed with him, and the sheer silliness of a small town--a village--in which nobody notices that scads of women come home with the main bachelor and, like the Hotel California, nobody ever checks out. And don't get me started on all the coincidences and deus ex machina (practically twins/triplets cousins/sisters/aunts, etc.).

Sorry, sorry, done now. Obviously, I have MANY things that will make me put a book down, LOL! (And, you, Tom Cruise, will never be forgiven. Childs may be repeating himself, but it should have been my choice to make; you shouldn't have ruined it for me just by being in that poster.) </rant>

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:01 AM   #50
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Indeed.

Now, oddly enough, another note: I've finally abandoned finishing Dumas' The Three Musketeers, (after years of trying) and for anyone who is incredibly fond thereof, because they've only seen movie or TV versions, and never read it, I'd recommend sticking with--unbelievably--the video or celluloid versions. At 2/3rds of the way through reading how rollicking it was to be a quartet of penniless gigolos who openly stole from women and avidly avoided work of any kind, and rather heartlessly ruined marriages sans thought, the heroic movie versions of the foursome saving the French Queen or the nation, etc., are far more attractive. Plus...it's incredibly bloody BORING. The characters are flatly unlikable, there's a serious absence of plot, other than brawls which aren't even well-scripted, and, well...did I say, BORING? Granted, I'm sure it's more offensive now than it was when written, but I still don't know how this crew could have been perceived as remotely heroic in ANY era. They are simply itinerant laborers with swords, (not even very good swordsmen, BTW, unlike their Errol-Flynn-selves), frankly a step below Highwaymen, who at least worked for their coin instead of mooching it off women.



Hitch


I absolutely love to read books that - in someone's opinion - are boring, especially one that is so loved for being.....well.....boring. (I'm being very serious here. I'm someone who enjoys works from the French New Novelists, [Nouveau roman] from the movement popular during the 1950s [Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Michel Butor, the early work of J.M.G. Le Clezio, etc.]).

Thank you for the recommendation!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually read this as a child and loved it, and have been meaning to go back and re-read it. I recently purchased six Delphi Classics compilations, one of them being the Dumas collection. I also purchased one with a new translation.




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Old 07-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #51
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Bad characterization is one thing that will make me drop a book fast. Characters making decisions that don't fit their previous actions, plot depending on people suddenly being different, they all make we lose interest in a book, because if an author can't keep track of who they're writing about why should I care about the story?

Example:
Character A (I'll call him Arnold) was presented as a very independent person, to the point where it simply didn't occur to him that anyone could or would help. He didn't think depending on others was a viable option, and when other people suggested asking for help he completely ignored it and sometimes ridiculed the idea. Then all of a sudden Arnold was voluntarily depending on a character he'd previously loathed, and doing everything he was told, and I had to put the book down because it was just completely unbelievable.

That's an extreme example, but similar stuff happens regularly and I have to put the book down. It's one reason I'm so fond of Andre Norton, despite her sometimes awkward language. I've never yet seen a major character change she hadn't already laid groundwork for.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:22 PM   #52
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As long as the writer tells me a good story, and presents it with a reasonable amount of skill I'll forgive a lot. Sometimes you'll get lucky and you'll get both, but I'll put up with less than stellar writing if the story grabs me.

I've tossed a few books because the author suddenly exposed an unexpected hatred (racism, homophobia, misogyny etc.). That hasn't happened lately. I think the prevalence of online reviews has helped me make more informed choices about the books I'm considering.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:56 PM   #53
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As long as the writer tells me a good story, and presents it with a reasonable amount of skill I'll forgive a lot. Sometimes you'll get lucky and you'll get both, but I'll put up with less than stellar writing if the story grabs me.

I've tossed a few books because the author suddenly exposed an unexpected hatred (racism, homophobia, misogyny etc.). That hasn't happened lately. I think the prevalence of online reviews has helped me make more informed choices about the books I'm considering.

These are distasteful subjects, to be sure.

However, I make a distinction between these 'characteristics' coming out of a character's mouth, as opposed to being expressive of the author's views.

If a character's behavior demonstrates that these negatives are coming from a character's belief system and/or through upbringing, then I find it vitally important to recognize that this is the character expressing his or her views (as distasteful as they may be) - and not from the author.

I totally agree with you that when these belief systems emanate from the author, then I toss the book aside.


Don

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Old 07-14-2013, 06:59 PM   #54
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Too often when those things show up, they DO represent the author, either because he is righting a story (or sub plot) about triumph over it (i.e. he is against it) or he is writing a story where those beliefs are "not so bad" or something (i.e. he holds those views).

Honestly, I doubt there is a human a live whose personal beliefs do NOT impact their writing.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:19 PM   #55
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Honestly, I doubt there is a human a live whose personal beliefs do NOT impact their writing.
I think you're right VydorScope. Even if the author isn't supportive of the kind of behavior that a given character takes part in I think he/she has to be able to project themselves into that character in order to make them properly come alive. I highly doubt that R.L. Stevenson was anything like Mr. Hyde but he had to be able to see the world through Hyde's eyes in order to understand what Hyde was capable of and what he would most likely do in a given situation.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:26 PM   #56
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I agree: And fictionalizing that world-view (in order to be successful in displaying it) is quite different than sharing in that world view.



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Old 07-14-2013, 08:35 PM   #57
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I agree: And fictionalizing that world-view (in order to be successful in displaying it) is quite different than sharing in that world view.

Don
Very true and actors also do it I understand. For example the late Vic Morrow played the overseer that whipped Lavar Burton's character (the young Kunta Kente) in the mini-series of Roots, but even though they were just acting Mr. Morrow apologized to Levar Burton for having to do it. Obviously Mr. Morrow was nothing like the character he portrayed in the mini-series. His gift as an actor was in being able to convince you that he was. Another example was the actress who played Nellie Olsen in Little house on the Prairie. She once reported that when she was in a parade people threw garbage at her because they confused her with her character who was a spoiled brat.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:24 PM   #58
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Yes, when I say unexpected I'm definitely thinking of author intrusion into a story. I've no problem if these things arise organically from a character's experiences. That's what good characterization is all about, and often the best characters are horribly flawed. But sometimes you can just tell that an author has pulled out the soapbox and is venting his personal views through the character's mouth.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #59
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I absolutely love to read books that - in someone's opinion - are boring, especially one that is so loved for being.....well.....boring. (I'm being very serious here. I'm someone who enjoys works from the French New Novelists, [Nouveau roman] from the movement popular during the 1950s [Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Michel Butor, the early work of J.M.G. Le Clezio, etc.]).

Thank you for the recommendation!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually read this as a child and loved it, and have been meaning to go back and re-read it. I recently purchased six Delphi Classics compilations, one of them being the Dumas collection. I also purchased one with a new translation.

Don
Howdy:

I was actually surprised at my inability to plow through it. I thought I'd read it when I was about 10, but perhaps not; maybe I saw some movie and imagined I'd done so, although I'm not usually given to those sorts of flights of fancy. But I simply couldn't keep going with it. It's still sitting on my Kindle, bookmarked. Maybe I'll try picking it up again, but somewhere after the battle scene, I just yawned one too many times. There was a bit of dialogue (don't recall it now) that finally just put me off it. {shrug}.

I'll be interested to see what you think. Diff'rent strokes, diff'rent folks, and all that.

Hitch
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:33 PM   #60
HarryT
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I love "The Three Musketeers" (which is, as I'm sure you know, a rather small part of the truly gargantuan work known in its entirety as "The D'Artagnon Romances").
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