1. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I really like this site

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lessa, Nov 12, 2007.

    I am learning a lot of new things and not all to do with writing.
    But has it ever put a cramp in my reading.
    I find myself picking up a book and instead of just enjoying the story, I am finding all the things that are wrong with it.
    The punctuation, the long windedness of some authors.
    The lack of good descriptions.
    The weakness of the characters.
    Does this mean I am becoming hardened or just becoming a better critic?
    Even Lucy Maude Montgomery is not perfect.
    Do others have this problem? If so how do you overcome it? Or do you?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Find a better book.

    Being published does not mean a person is a perfect writer. In fact, it doesn't necessarily mean they are a good writer. It just means that they were lucky enough to make it through the process. I've read many pieces on here that are far better than I see in bookshops and libraries. The key is to read a wide range of books. Don't be afraid to go for the book or author you've never heard of. Also, peruse the internet. A lot of people who are really good at writing don't do it for the money. A lot of them will post it on the internet, purely so people can enjoy it. Check out sites like fictionpress.

    And if you are picking out all the mistakes, then good. It'll help your own writing, and your self-critiquing skills. But don't focus on the things that are wrong with it to the extent of ignoring the story. The entire point of a book is to lose yourself in it, and sometimes the technicality can get in the way of that. So can looking for the mistakes.

    I can't give you a concrete way to approach books, but just try what I do: go into it with no preconceptions, no expectations, and just take it for what it is. Oh, and giving away the ending of a book is just cause for murder ;)
     
  3. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I tend to speed read, so I can easily overlook a lot of the minor mistakes, while enjoying the story.
    Although with some books like the "Honor Harrington" series, since the main character and various other big name characters are horrible Mary Sues, it makes enjoying them a lot harder then it was even a year ago.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I see mistakes in published novels, and I see writing I don't like. But I also look to see where breaking the rules and guidelines works, and try to figure out why.

    I don't see reading critically to be a problem. I believe in reading for enjoyment AND to appreciate and learn from successful writers at the same time.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very often it's less a case of mistakes in published work, rather preference. In the majority for example you would expect a good proof reader and editor to have gotten their hands on it. Style however is very much a preference.
     
  6. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes I find myseld noticing problems with books. Like I jate the way that Thomas Harris changes tense from past to present half way through a paragraph, just for a sentence or two. It does my head in. However, I feel as if I am not qualified to have this opinion as the dude tells good stories and I am just a silly kid nitpicking. But aye, I know what you mean, you cannot help but notice things wrong with peices, especially when the problem is something you have been told about yourself, if you know what I mean.

    Just keep reading it regardless and try and learn from their mistakes and think: "I don't want people reading my work and finding similar faults."

    Heather
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By mistakes, I mean everything from punctuation and spelling errors, incomplete sentences, and subject/verb mismatches to ambiguous wording. I see a surprising number of the SPAG errors - surprising, that is, until I realize how many slip through spell checking and multiple proofreading passes in my own writing. It's really hard to catch every last mistake.

    As an example of ambiguity, there is a passage in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer, during the climactic battle with the cannibal army (Honest!). I don't have the exact quote at hand, but it was along the liines of:
    [/QUOTE]Several pages later, I was astonished to read that character speaking. What I had interpreted as a bullet decapitating the character, the writer had apparently intended to say she moved her head just before a bullet passed through that space.

    I consider that an error, because it was, for me at least, very misleading, and clearly not intended to be.

    These are opportunities to think about how you, the reader, would have phrased it differently, to convey the peril of the moment without introducing a likely misinterpretation.
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I must say, I got the same impression you did Cogito, and I would consider it poor writing a best, if not an all-out error.
     
  9. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I'll definitely agree with you there. One of my favourite authors John Ringo, uses very sloppy sentences, and isn't always grammatically correct. But considering he writes fast paced, adventure science fiction novels with a lot of detailed scientific weapons thrown in, it works, and I don't usually notice.
    He's even lampshaded his mistakes at least once, which I thought was close to one of the funniest things I ever read.
     
  10. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I guess it is a good thing if not taken to the extreme. I can still enjoy the books and try not to make the same mistakes.
    I just hope I do not become like Dom and his father. They critique tv. shows and movies in loud voices and that makes watching with them more of a discussion than watching.
    So thanks for the comments it has made me see that I am not alone and a bit of what to do with the experience.
     
  11. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    hehe, I never do that the first time watching a film but the second i always do. It is fun :p
     
  12. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'm afraid I, too, am guilty of picking films apart :redface: Though in my defence, if the films were done properly, I wouldn't have anything to critique :p
     
  13. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hehe. Try doing it with the Bond films. I love them to bits but they are sooo funny to slag off. :p
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I always pick films apart, regardless of what they are.
    I'm a HUGE film fan, and when watching a film i'm known to be really arebic about them.
    I just like everything to be done right.
     

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