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  1. Vacuum Eater
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    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

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    What Do You Rarely, if Ever, See in Books that You Would Really Like to See?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Vacuum Eater, Jan 25, 2010.

    I'll start.

    I would like to see a protagonist (preferably an older one) give the arch villain a good old-fashioned spanking. No, I don't mean that in a kinky way. I mean that in a treating-the-villain as a child way.
     
  2. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    I'm immediately reminded of a short story by Poe where the devil tempts a man to his death near a bridge, and then of "The Death of Ivan Ilych" where the character suffers a rather bleak and hopeless death. I feel that a lot of writing portrays death with a 'flowers and hymns' manner. A lot of those poor dead souls who've suffered might appreciate a little fame, a little humor from it. Another great example would have to be the hopeless end of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". (You know I heard they're writing another one, how tragic.)

    I also feel realism and a general understanding of mechanics, biology, and sometimes simple high school science is lacking in most major works. Though lately popular fiction has been getting better. But oh how I hate those CSI style crime plots, especially when you can watch the real thing in that 48 Hour investigation show and it's nothing ever as elaborate as anything in novels. I write my action scenes as simple, quick, and as bleak as possible, taking Murphy's Law into full consideration. I'm not saying I'm better than those clever folks doing the stuff, but I believe I have the right attitude.

    I'm also a huge fan of any kind of wry wit. Wry, to the point it's acidic.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    A disdain for reality. Books aren't real life, let's stop pretending they are.
     
  4. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Things I'd love to see more of (although they are very, very occasionally done well, that I've seen):

    Complex languages in fantasy and science fiction. Biologically plausible aliens. Limited, complex, and unique rules-based magic systems in fantasy. Heroes who don't win, who are crushed horribly, and who have to change their goals entirely and set up a new objective in order to make anything of themselves. Well-done and well-researched fight scenes involving hand-to-hand or close-range combat with archaic weapons. Complex cultures that are not at all like our own. Main characters who are not soldiers, mercenaries, writers, scholars, or adventurers, but who have an unusual job -- florists, ox trainers, wheelwrights, potters, or the like. Heroes who are really just ordinary people who got pushed too far.

    But what I'd really, really love to see? Complex social situations, with real and complex characters. The ones where you have a dozen characters, and several major events happen, and you get to see how each person shines. Like when you have a group of friends, and one of you is a biology major, and one's a math major, and one's an architecture major, and one of them is a Marine on leave, and the last one is an old lady who has lived her life doing things with her hands -- the "hero" will depend on the situation. If you need to solve a medical problem, maybe the bio major can help; if you need to solve a complex equation, the math major will shine; if you need to know how to fix a broken down machine, maybe the lady or the Marine could help.

    Stories where each of the characters seem like people -- where they are all so awfully different, but where their world views and experiences are all useful and correct in the right circumstance -- are rare. And they are absolute treasures, a real treat to read, when they do happen.
     
  5. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    A well written interesting story. I picked up, out of desperation, a book from Walmart last night...and well it's rather disappointing. Fantasy blended with crime and sci-fi and you'd think it would be good, but 20 pages into it, and I find the writing very amateurish, especially after reading books like Patient Zero... Ugh, if Simon and Schuster publishes these kinds of pooish books...then I might have a shot at getting published, as would at least half the unpublished people here.
     
  6. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd like to read a novel which seriously tackles disability - and not just in a way in which the disabled person is utterly consumed by their negative predicament. There are a lot of novels out there about mental dysfunction/illness but not physical disability.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm exactly the opposite, my friend writes stories I abhor about large breasted woman with swords larger than towers killing each other and I just can't help but think "... Really? Come on ..."


    I want to see more good writing, and more interesting themes and concepts. I don't want the 'hero' to win all the time (I prefer anti-heroes and nobodies to people with anything special about them) and I don't want a totally happy ending. I feel cheated when I get that. I'm also sick of seeing characters in novels going beyond their pain-barrier, and then it is just given a really cheap line like 'The pain was almost too much to bear'. The worst example that comes to mind with this is Lisey's Story by our good friend Stephen King. The title character literally gets beaten to snot, and yet she still pulls herself up and starts to recover really quickly - too quickly; I'm sorry, I've seen what a beating like one described in the book would do to ANY normal person, the subject would have a broken appendage of some sort at the very least.

    I'm a harsh critic, but it does not take a lot to keep me happy.
     
  8. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    The sequel Hitchikers has been out for ages, it's called And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Cup holders.

    Books generally do not come with cup holders.

    Yes. That's what I would like.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ahh. Just like the Cold Drink (CD) tray on computers. Good idea!
     
  11. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    This made me laugh. A lot. What I'd like to see is a fictional book, teen oriented, with someone who is bipolar. And goes off on crazy tangents, looses their santiy, etc, etc. Or at least SOME bipolar fictional teenage book!!!!

    I personally do not like adult fiction. It's too in-depth for me. I can't concentrate on it long enough. GRR.
     
  12. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    Long-term foreshadowing. Foreshadowing tends to take place only a chapter or two before the event in most fiction I've read, so the foreshadowing is either meaningless or just spoils the shock value of the event when it does happen.

    One particularly good example of how I'd like to see it done more is from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where the line "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía would remember..." is repeated again and again. As we grow nearer to the event we begin to realise why he would face a firing squad, and the period of time changes to "Several months later..." or similar. This line comes up every time a happy event happens in the village that the book revolves around, throwing the reader off guard every time and creating a building sense of tension as the book reaches its climax.

    I'd like to see more Nobel-Prize-standard foreshadowing. ;)
     

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