Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Love Unexpected (except when it's not what I expect)

Confused?  I understand, but bear with me.

Reading a book is an investment of time.  As a writer, I want my readers to come away from the story feeling like they didn't waste their time, but enjoyed the time they spent with me.  Which is why I hate HATE when books trick me.

I don't mean when there's unexpected twists that I never would have figured out because they're that clever.  I love those!  In C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Series, she tosses in twists that have to do with either the mystery or, more often, the characters lives.  And they're awesome!  I'm talking about when you read a murder mystery about a crime that seems to have been a staged suicide, spend several hundred pages trying to solve this murder, and find out that it's all just a suicide anyway.  What was the point of that?

I'm not going to say what the book was, because I disliked it that much, but I'm sure people who enjoyed it would say something like "It's all about the journey of the characters!"  To which I respond, "No.  No it's not."  Here's why:

Number 1: There are no character-oriented sub-plots that are resolved at the end of the book.  That's not entirely true.  The subplot of a character that doesn't even matter until 3/4 of the way in is resolved, but who cares?  The MC's relationship isn't figured out, it's left ambiguous.  The villain isn't really punished, the supporting characters don't get their happy ending, hell the MC doesn't even go back to playing goalie on his hockey team for good even though he whines about how great it was for half the book.  Nothing. Is. Resolved.

Number Two: If it's about character development, don't put it under mysteries in the bookstore/library.  Don't call it a "__________ ____ Mystery."  Because it's not a mystery.  It's a waste of my time.

Have you ever read a book that just made you feel like you would get the same enjoyment out of watching paint dry?

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