Re: RARA-AVIS: Unreliable narrator

Date: 14 Nov 2005

Vicki wrote:

"However, in my experience, the top literary books are really well-written, whereas best-sellers tend to go the other way, because the general reading public reads for plot and idea and doesn't recognize good writing from bad."

I read very few bestsellers myself, but I'm a little uncomfortable with the tautological nature of this definition. Of course, if you define bad writing as any plot-driven writing, most bestsellers are badly written. However, isn't there actually good and bad plot driven writing? For instance, don't know if it was a bestseller, but Douglas Winter's Run is a runaway train in the plot department, and it is at the expense of characterization, but I thought it was well written within the bounds of its genre.

This remnds me of teasing an old girlfriend. She watched soap operas, but was quick to place them in the realm of guilty pleasure, saying in particular that the acting was poor. I saw just enough of them to notice that the traits she labeled as "poor" were pretty consistent among the actors -- if everyone is overemoting, is it bad craft or a style choice?

To put it another way, I don't like chick flicks, but even I've got to admit some are very well made movies (and as loath as I am to admit it, I've even liked a few that I've been dragged to).


ps -- did Douglas Winter ever write another book?

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 Nov 2005 EST