A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Time For a Coffee Break!

Reading/Book Pet Peeves

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Morticia:

--- Quote from: MommyPenguin on March 05, 2014, 11:05:12 PM ---
--- Quote from: HoneyBee42 on March 04, 2014, 09:35:56 PM ---
--- Quote from: Twik on March 04, 2014, 09:32:57 AM ---There are some parts of stories that are so unique that you can't include them in a "reimagining" without being accused of a rip-off.

For example, you could do a story about someone who becomes a fugitive after his wife is killed, trying to find the man who did it. But if the killer has only one arm, you're going to get called on that. Or if you're going to write a story about an elderly couple who adopt an orphan girl, perhaps she shouldn't have red hair and freckles.

--- End quote ---
But by the same token--making the girl have brown hair and envious of the looks of her best friend who is a redhead isn't doing too much more than slapping on a coat of paint, so to speak. 

I do generally get annoyed with the "I've read this story before somewhere" types of stories.  Worse when I recognize the "source" and find myself wondering if the author bothered to make any *meaningful* changes (Prom and Prejudice--my daughter brought that home from school and it drove me batty from almost the very first sentence.  I think I made it about three sentences before I stopped and just sort of paged through "hmm, wonder how she shoehorned this plot point into the 21st century").  I couldn't decide if it was a parody or an attempt to make "more relevant", but it would be hard to be a more blatant rip off.

--- End quote ---

I was so excited by the idea of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" that I actually bought it (versus just getting it from the library).  I'm not into the whole zombie thing, either.  But it sounded like such an interesting twist and got such great reviews.  But then they didn't seem to *use* the whole zombie thing at all.  The book would go on as originally written for a long time, then there would be a zombie scene, then it would go back to as originally written--word for word without any obvious effect of the zombies.  It was just... pointless.  I felt like I could have just gotten a list of page numbers and scenes to add/change, like, "Read to page 22, then instead of middle two paragraphs, insert <zombie scene>.  Then read to page 45, and after first paragraph, insert <zombie scene>."  Could have probably just been a little pamphlet.

--- End quote ---

Thank you. I couldn't get through that one either. It just seemed so pointless. You know, as a book cover, it was great. As a book, not so much...

Winterlight:

--- Quote from: MariaE on March 05, 2014, 08:50:55 AM ---
--- Quote from: HoneyBee42 on March 04, 2014, 09:35:56 PM ---
--- Quote from: Twik on March 04, 2014, 09:32:57 AM ---There are some parts of stories that are so unique that you can't include them in a "reimagining" without being accused of a rip-off.

For example, you could do a story about someone who becomes a fugitive after his wife is killed, trying to find the man who did it. But if the killer has only one arm, you're going to get called on that. Or if you're going to write a story about an elderly couple who adopt an orphan girl, perhaps she shouldn't have red hair and freckles.

--- End quote ---
But by the same token--making the girl have brown hair and envious of the looks of her best friend who is a redhead isn't doing too much more than slapping on a coat of paint, so to speak. 

I do generally get annoyed with the "I've read this story before somewhere" types of stories.  Worse when I recognize the "source" and find myself wondering if the author bothered to make any *meaningful* changes (Prom and Prejudice--my daughter brought that home from school and it drove me batty from almost the very first sentence.  I think I made it about three sentences before I stopped and just sort of paged through "hmm, wonder how she shoehorned this plot point into the 21st century").  I couldn't decide if it was a parody or an attempt to make "more relevant", but it would be hard to be a more blatant rip off.

--- End quote ---

"The Ladies of Missalonghi" by Colleen McCullough is a great example (or bad... depending on how you look at it) of this. It is such a blatant rip-off of "The Blue Castle" by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

--- End quote ---

When I first read it it seemed so familiar and I couldn't say why- then I reread The Blue Castle and realized. That pretty much killed it for me, along with the way-too-perfect ending.

Margo:

A group of my friends had a lot of fun with PP&Z  -we had 2 or 3 travelling copies in which we all wrote footnotes and editorial comment about it - we had a lot of fun. And as we are spread across at least 3 continents we probably have the best travelled copies of the book ever!

One of my particular peeves was about the little things which were wrong - there's one scene involving a description of the countryside which includes, among other things, mention of a raccoon. We don't have raccoons in England. (that and the wrong-period of the period costumes in the illustrations) Even if you're writing a bad book, why not do just a little tiny bit of research. . .

[edited because I can't get the quote tree to play nice, so I've taken it out]

cabbageweevil:

--- Quote from: Margo on March 06, 2014, 11:16:06 AM ---One of my particular peeves was about the little things which were wrong - there's one scene involving a description of the countryside which includes, among other things, mention of a raccoon. We don't have raccoons in England. (that and the wrong-period of the period costumes in the illustrations) Even if you're writing a bad book, why not do just a little tiny bit of research. . .

--- End quote ---

Unless the cop-out were resorted to, which I've seen with one or two authors recently: the book is taking place in a time-line which is just a little bit different from our own -- so in this book's time-line, some English aristocrat had spent time in North America in the late 18th century, thought raccoons were very sweet, and brought a small breeding population back to England and released them.  And in the book's time-line, ladies' fashions were different from how they were in ours... but this kind of stuff truly is a cop-out, with a vengeance, and not to be encouraged !

Elfmama:

--- Quote from: Margo on March 06, 2014, 11:16:06 AM ---One of my particular peeves was about the little things which were wrong - there's one scene involving a description of the countryside which includes, among other things, mention of a raccoon. We don't have raccoons in England. (that and the wrong-period of the period costumes in the illustrations) Even if you're writing a bad book, why not do just a little tiny bit of research. . .

--- End quote ---
Well, sometimes the tiny bit of research leads you astray.  Read one once, a straight historical fiction about William the Conqueror.  Just as an aside, it mentioned that his favorite food was X, a delicious stew with this, that, the other, and potatoes.

Obviously, the author had researched what went into X, but without considering that potatoes must have been a later addition, since they wouldn't be known in Europe for over 500 years.  Or else she didn't do the additional research about foodstuffs native to the Americas but unknown in Europe until the 16th century.

Maybe that's why so many authors feed their fantasy or historical characters the ubiquitous "stew."  Lets the reader use their own imaginations as to what went into the stew without having to do that kind of research.

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