1. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    Character blog post in a novel??? boring?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AspiringNovelist, Aug 17, 2015.

    In CH 3 of my novel, I have an important character detail a blog post that she's working on.

    Question: Is that a deal breaker (boring) for the reader?

    The reason I have the blog post is to share info about this character: A.) she's tech savvy, and B) the blog post shares a lot about her state of mind.

    I figured I'd ask the board before I spend too much time polishing up the wording in the blog post.

    Here's the excerpt: (a little before the blog post, the blog post, and a little after). If you see any grammar errors, please let me know)

    Setting: A storm is coming in off the Mediterranean and Isla is at an outdoor cafe...

    ----------------------

    ...Two tabby cats watched the storm, too, their tails swung anxiously side to side, concerned, they scraped their cheeks against one another like consoling lovers and moved through the battered and used tables toward safety.

    Isla eyed the keyboard of the laptop that sat on the Plexiglas tabletop. On the screen, the cursor blinked at the end of the last paragraph as it had done for the last hour. It was a race between the laptop’s battery and some final thought for her latest blog post. She was hung up on the conclusion because the article she was typing was, in many ways, about her.

    Reinvention was why Isla Patel came to Tangier a year ago. But it wasn’t what kept her in Tangier. She stayed for the freedom. She stayed for the views off the Strait of Gibraltar. She stayed for the same reason the two tabby cats did – because there’s a delicious paradox between the lavish and the shabby. Besides, it was easy enough to get lost in Tangier’s duality – safe and dangerous, bohemian and conventional, notorious and baffling. Then the perfect ending of her article came to her. She pulled the laptop close and typed: They all sensed that reinvention required freedom, and back then, in Tangier, one could do as one pleased. Today, that same freedom fortifies this Moroccan outpost and protects those inside. She re-read what she had typed thus far:

    WHY TANGIER IS STILL BURROUGHS’ OUTPOST by Prophet

    In today’s Tangier, tourists tiptoe through the nostalgic wasteland of the William S. Burroughs’ of the world. But back then, when then mattered, Tangier was the home to drugs that unwrinkled the gray matter only to let it snap back into place with the coiled force of muscle memory.

    The real Tangier is still here – It’s still the seedy chokepoint of all that is beautiful in the Mediterranean. The best of the Mediterranean’s fish, culture, religion, and art are filtered here, and the best is left here. The rest is flushed into the Atlantic.

    In the late 1950s’ Tangier was the place of social rebels. It was abstain from the straight and narrow culture of Eisenhower’s America, so widely accepted that it was quiet, tender, and almost nostalgic at its birth.

    Tangier was the place where social ideals sat on the scales of discourse. On one side of the scale was that U.S. 1950s’ ideology. It was heavy, commandeering, and seemed to rob life of its youth.

    On the other side of the scale, Tangier and its morphine, kief, mescaline, and barbiturates. Each weighing down their side of the scale with depression or easing the scale with euphoria. Reality, especially the conformed reality of the 1950s, while idyllic, would never last against these types of Orwellian opiates. Too much had been set free from the bounds of paternity. Too much had been left behind as new doors were opened and left ajar.

    It was only a matter of time. In the United States, the somber quiet of the 1950s had morphed into 1960s’ feminism, liberalism, brotherhood, peace and love and then something horrible happened, the 1970s. The 70s in the states were definitely some type of social decline towards the primal. The American economy was dreadful. Fathers and mothers struggled to provide food and shelter. The colors orange, green and brown seemed to be everywhere. And who can forget (even if they wanted too) the platform shoes, rayon bell-bottom pants, and the stench of warm polyester that mixed with body odor and the prowling stink of decades-pre-metrosexual testosterone. Men danced like women while the women just danced. The swooshing sound of corduroy in motion and shirts with collars so wide, that they could be used as wingspans to glide on. And the debasing chest hairs that dripped with human sweat and musk cologne – the primitive ape of man with a zodiac medallion or Christian cross to bear that shimmered in the sun. The 70s were a ridiculous time, a self-indulgent time, and there America’s humanity was, trapped, hungry, poor, and acting as fools that danced beneath the unchanging orbit of a disco ball. And like that disco ball, they twisted. They danced in circles and admired themselves when a sliver of mirrored light slithered over them. Very little progresses when one dances in circles. Americans, in the 70s, were little more than hominid apes in a rain dance of drought.

    Whereas, in Tangier in the 70s, the beatniks came and setup shop, but the meatheads felt the unwelcome stare of debauchery and stayed away. Debauchery, to do it right, required a higher level of intelligence than the meatheads were capable of. The meatheads couldn’t shake it, it being the world, off. And in Tangier, one lived like lines in good poetry. On the edge of something great, Icarus on the heated brink of a fiery sun. Others lived life like a great novel or on the edge of something natural, but always, always on the edge.

    The faint essence and affinity of Tangier has remained intact over time and Tangier continues to embrace the valor of a free mind while ignoring the possible meanings of hamartia. The Burroughs’, Bowles’, Orton’s, and Matisse’s of the world all sought something in Tangier that wasn’t available anywhere else on earth, reinvention. They all sensed that reinvention required freedom, and back then, in Tangier, one could do as one pleased. Today, that same freedom fortifies this Moroccan outpost and protects those inside.

    The Plexiglas table vibrated and Isla fumbled through the clutter of notes and envelopes to find her phone underneath. When she found it, she looked at the phone’s screen, which only showed, unknown. She answered, almost afraid, “Hello.”

    “Isla?”

    “Yes.”

    “It’s me. Are you watching the news?” Lexy asked from three thousand miles away. Outside her train’s coach window, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay lay flat as glass.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, quite honestly, it would bore me. I actually felt my interest drop the moment I read the line She re-read what she had typed thus far:

    As soon as I read that kind of thing, I'm crying out, "Just tell me in brief, give me the important details and get on with the story."

    It's a bubble-popper. It takes me away from the story and becomes a chore.
     
  3. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm not seeing anything about her state of mind, and writing a blog does not make one "tech savy". I would examine why you feel a need to take the time out of your story in order to info dump a bunch of useless social history/commentary. I don't have any problem with the device, but the execution (the blog you have written) is just as boring as you feared.
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The fact that you felt the need to ask is a good sign - your inner radar was already sending warning signals. Is any of the actual information in the post necessary to the story? (Rhetorical question)

    Not only are you filtering by making this a blog post (and a very unfocused blog post at that), you're filtering the filtering by having her re-read it. If you want to show her state of mind, put the reader in the middle of it.
     
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  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tried to read the 'blog post' and found myself starting to skim, and then read the first line to get the gist. Wouldn't work for me. It's a boring blog post (from my perspective) but I may not be the target audience.
     
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  6. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would cut it unless this information about Tangier is important to the plot. Of course I would then make it brief unless it's actually interesting and plot relevant.

    Like a blogger blogging about his experience at the haunts house that is important to the story.

    What you have now, while nicely written, doesn't seem all that relevant and more like a long unneeded history lesson. I think... I kinda only skimmed.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The device of a blog post isn't inherently bad, but this execution isn't working for me. First, I wouldn't put the post inside the scene--wouldn't have her staring at the computer, wouldn't have "what she typed so far", wouldn't have her concerns about the post. If you want a blog post, I'd suggest putting it in block quotes at the beginning of a chapter or as its own chapter; the scene "wrapper" weighs the whole thing down too much. At the very most, I'd put the post at the beginning of the chapter and then open the scene with a single line of her pressing "Post."

    You might do some research on how other novels have handled the insertion of documents (diary entries, letters, news stories, etc.). I want to use the phrase "epistolary novel", but that's for a novel entirely made up of such documents, right?

    You say that the blog post shares a lot about her state of mind, but to me it's more of a history lesson and backstory. It's too long and too unemotional and insufficiently tied to the character. I think that it needs to be much much shorter, more tied to her emotions, and somehow more engaging--my first thought is funnier, but there are other ways to make it more engaging.

    And I agree that blogging doesn't make her tech savvy. It makes her active in the online world, which is perhaps what you meant, but it doesn't signal any particular level of skill.
     
  8. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    To answer your question bluntly: yep. It's boring.

    I was intrigued by the first parts, before her post. I think I read the first two lines of it before I felt my interest wane entirely and I just skipped it all and went straight to where the action resumed.
     
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  9. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. The blog post is outta there. I'll re-write the needed info about Tangier as needed in paragraphs...

    Something like:
    Isla ran through the narrow rutted alleyway that, also, doubled as a street and ducked into her ’89 TVR S2. She tossed her backpack into the passenger seat, pulled her wet hair back into a loose ponytail and secured it with a rubber band. The TVR was perfect for the many dry days in Tangier, but little more than a moving bucket on rainy days. The car leaked like a sieve. Water poured in from the convertible roofline and splashed up through the rotted floor bed. By the time she turned right onto Boulevard Mohamed V, moisture had fogged every window. She turned on the defroster, which caused the belts in the engine’s compartment to squeal in protest. <-- I'll impart info about Tangier as I move the reader along in the story rather than dump a history lesson in the readers lap.
     
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  10. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry you got such a resounding 'no', AN, but I suppose that's why we ask for advice.
     

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