... a totally icky thing!
Pardon my introduction into this post. I have been away for a while (not awol since I was on study leave) and now I'm revving up to have a go at blog posting again.
I've been following the amazing posts of the women of RBA over the past couple of weeks, and I gotta say a chord is resonating inside me. Sandra spoke of wimpy heroes and Angela about formula writing.
Sadly, these two components (broaden the first to include wimpy and limp characters) are a recurring, evil-like theme in books of recent times. It's just repeat and repeat, or as I like to compare it to - shampoo, lather, rinse, repeat. There really is nothing more complicated than that in books today. Shampoo is hero+heroine+sex, lather is hero+heroine+sex have sex in a next-to-nonexistent context and setup, rinse is hero+heroine+sex+some conflict=resolution, and then for your next book, you just take the same shampoo and lather and rinse. And repeat.
Wonder what the poor hair that's being so shampooed looks like in the end. What would that hair be? Writer's imagination (that they're not stretching by any lengths. Using the same shampoo loses its efficiency on your hair after a while, that's a well known fact. So what then does it say when applied to writers' imagination and writing?). Another 'hair' would be readers. Aren't they sick and tired of the same shampoo that promises the same generic result on every aisle of every drugstore? Don't their 'hair' have special needs, which would be fed and satisfied by different mixes of shampoo?
Where has the imagination gone? I know we've been asking this same question for ages here at RBA, but is it a wonder we keep running circles and coming back to this very same issue? Characters in today's writing world are most often limp, stringy 'thingies' (can't even call them people!). Formula is so generic you know a book even before you read it. Take a historical and most often you get an ingenue who is all revved up to take her life into her hands and what does this mean - oh yeah, she wants to be her own person. How? Absolutely no clue, either for the writer, or for the reader if she even manages to finish the book. There seems to be an unwritten rule that goes, this much is enough and no need to bother with more coz no one will bother at the other end.
People, readers DO bother! They DO care! And they hate being taken for fools and idiots and the dullest knife in the drawer. For once, I'm putting aside the writer mantle and stepping into my reader shoes. I have a full shelf of reader shoes - comfy sneakers-like ones, strappy and glittery stiletto-type sandals, fluffy slippers that welcome your feet in a smug and warm hold. But lately, my reader feet are going bare, because there seems to be so little good and out-of-the-box reads that I don't even have time to slip on the shoes, any shoes, so much there's next-to-nothing to read. I am having to fall back on my 'classics', books I'd acquired years, even decades, ago, leading me to now thread-bare slippers that are threatening to disintegrate every time I pick them. The stilettos, sadly, remain in their tissue wrap and never get to see the light.
Angela mentioned everything is coming down to formulaic stuff. I agree - everything is a repeat of another in today's world.
What do you think? Chime in and leave a comment!
On a side note, come check out my latest book trailer, for the upcoming suspense/mystery Walking on the Edge
Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Available Now!! - Light My World - Eirelander Publishing
Nolwynn Ardennes - The Promise of Fulfilment
Coming out January 8, 2010 - Storms in a Shot Glass - Eirelander Publishing
Coming out June 4, 2010 - Walking on the Edge - Eirelander Publishing
Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes - Romance the world over