Monday, October 11, 2004

Perfect Penmanship

Last I heard, "nobody's perfect" was a pretty well accepted adage, but apparently some of us are more perfect than others. Okay, not to malign a literary heroine of my teenage years, but Blog of a Bookslut included this fine tidbit today: Anne Rice getting all high and mighty about editing. Or rather, how she doesn't need any editing.

Hell. I remember reading The Witching Hour in college -- you could basically open the book to any page, plunk your finger down arbitrarily on a passage, and laugh at the stilted way it was written, the grammatical errors, or the run-on sentences.

I always thought it was a shame that after Interview with the Vampire (which, I daresay, as her breakout book, was her last book that seemed well edited -- and that was the book that made her one of my literary heroines, at least for a short period of time), everything pretty much went downhill, technically.

Everybody needs an editor. Even the most fastidious amongst us writers have times when a phrase looks right to the eye, reads correctly to the inner ear, and it's not. We've missed a typo or a grammatical error, maybe even because we've simply seen the manuscript so many times we know how it's supposed to sound.

Bookslut also railed about J.K. Rowling, who also deserves some ribbing for sloppy editing (not to mention, those more recent barbells, er, books, could have used some adept cutting).

Anyway, I guess it would be nice to be published and popular enough to have the option of becoming a prima donna, but I hope if my day ever comes, I won't become one.

Thanks to Brian over at Bibliotechno for emailing me that blog post.

Thanks for reading,



Blogger Maktaaq said...

I really liked Interview with the Vampire, but The Vampire Lestat was such a struggle.

I don't mind JK Rowling but she might not last too many decades. I kept thinking that something found in Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, and others is just not in the Harry Potter books.

On the other hand, when I was deep in the rice paddies of Japan, the only English books my public library had that were not translations of sappy Japanese novels, were the Harry Potter books. I am thankful for that.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Mariana said...

Do you really find Harry Potter's books too long? After a while I get a bit fed up with all the suffering the protagonist goes through, it's just too masochistic, but I don't really mind about their length.

I remember once reading a reply by George Bernard Shaw to his critics, who complained his plays were too long. He simply said that for those who went to the theater just to socialize with other people every minute spent actually watching the play must indeed be agony. But for those who went there because they enjoyed the art, the more hours spent there the better.

However, I do think that those books get so thick that it can get quite uncomfortable to read them after a while. I suppose it's cheaper for the publishers this way, instead of dividing one massive book into three, easy to hold ones.

5:27 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hey guys,

Maktaaq, I actually haven't read CS Lewis... I think that's actually an oversight on my part, since I've heard he's really good... and I can't really remember Roald Dahl... isn't that awful???

And you could be right though, Rowling might lack a certain degree of timelessness... the fad might not live on forever like some classic books in the genre.

Gatochy, yeah, I do think that the last 2 Harry Potters have gotten too long. (My favorite was "The Prisoner of Azkaban," I thought it was the perfect length and a more intense read than the others, perhaps.) I do have to admit, I enjoy them for good clean fun, but the fifth one especially, I felt could have been a couple hundred pages shorter even though I enjoyed it on the whole. Those last 2 definitely felt like weights I was holding night after night! (Not that I got any upper arm strength, oh goodness no!)


10:20 PM  
Blogger Mariana said...

Hi there again. This was on today's Cool Site of the Day and I thought you might find it interesting, seeing as you're a writer.

Fray is an online magazine about true stories. They put up a new feature story about once a month, and each one ends with a posting area where you can tell your story right back.

10:29 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Thanks Gatochy! I've added it to my bookmarks, so I can check it out tomorrow... I think I am officially heading to bed. I considered it my civic duty to watch the presidential debates and I just realized that that was an utterly exhausting way to end the evening.

I'm a little worried about the one headline I saw on Fray, "The Worm Within" -- that sounds like a truly scary tale! Whoa... Thanks for the heads up!


10:09 PM  

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