You may have guessed but I read a lot. It helps me improve my own writing (I hope!) and exposes me to a lot of styles and plot lines and ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. Honestly, that’s one of the things that has inspired more than a couple of blog posts. Like this one.
I was reading a mystery being, in theory, solved by a psychic. It probably will be, but I had to put it down because the book wasn’t really about the mystery. Oh, sure. The description certainly implied it would be. There are mobsters and murder and parents trying to protect their infant daughter and all that good thriller/mystery sort of thing, and I’m certain that there’s a dramatic climax where someone gets shot and the Bad Guys are brought to justice. But…
But I’m just over a third of the way through the book and the mystery solving is just getting started. So what have I been reading this whole time? I’ve been reading a story about a man whose father left him and his mother on their own before the man even learned to walk. He’s had thirty years to be angry, and the whole first third of the book is dealing with his own new fatherhood and with the complete shock brought by the long-missing father’s reappearance.
So when the man and the psychic decide to effectively drop everything- including these not insignificant emotional reactions- to investigate the case and clear the way for a happy family reunion, I had to stop reading. That, to me, felt like a betrayal of the characters in favor of the author’s priorities of Solving The Obvious Mystery.
I suspect this may boil down to a pantser vs plotter debate, ultimately. I think what happened is that the author carefully outlined the book, and put certain beats in certain places, and simply wrote the emotional life of her characters too well so that when she went to get the ball truly rolling on solving the crimes, the characters themselves weren’t actually positioned to do it. Still, it feels to me like a betrayal. These characters don’t feel like they are acting in ways that are consistent. I have no doubt that I’ll go back and read the rest of this book, even though I have a strong suspicion that the man
will readily forgive his long-lost dad, even though I personally feel like the guy can shove right back off to whatever hole he’s lived in for three decades.
What do you think, have you come across books like this? Or even individual
In other news, Quick Study is now live! If you want to find out more about the crazy girl I’ve been occasionally talking about, you can get your own copy almost anywhere you can buy e-books!