Monday, April 12, 2010

Something is Annoying.

I have come across a line in writing that I find to be uninspired and lazy and super annoying. It is like this:

The story contains a mystery. All good stories do. There is something beneath the surface driving the story. The characters are having a serious conversation. They are worried about a thing that is happening. They are discussing life, an event, multiple events. Then one of them asks a question and another gives the following response:

"Something is coming."

Really? Something is coming? You may as well say, "This book contains a plot." "This television series is interesting, just you wait for this particular thing that will happen!" Something is ALWAYS coming. In every story, no matter how ordinary, something will aways be coming.

I came across this line most recently in The Mysterious Benedict Society. In this book, messages are being broadcast behind television signals and people are being brainwashed. Only the most intelligent people are immune. So this guy is trying to make these really smart children understand. They ask a question. A simple question. "So what's wrong?" There is a dramatic pause. "Something is coming."

This is really hard for me to criticize as it is an effect that is also overused by my beloved Doctor. At the end of Season Two, just before the most heartbreaking finale in all of television history*, the Doctor and Rose are standing in the middle of the street looking at the stars and the Doctor tells her, "Something is coming." And I'm pretty sure that is not the only time he has said it. There have been storms brewing and something coming in every season. And as much as I love the show, and as brilliant as I believe the writers to be, it is still the most annoying dramatic device I can think of. Surely there is a more creative way to signify a major event is about to take place. Surely.

If Ishmael stands on the deck of the boat looking for the whale and then and announces that "Something is coming", I am throwing the book out of the window.

*I might be biased. I mean, I haven't watched all of television ever. But it's a pretty intense scene and there aren't many television shows that make me weep like I am the one experiencing the "thing that has come."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Call me Ishmael.

Actually, no, don't do that. But, I'll tell you what. I've just started Moby Dick and it. is. awesome. I don't know what I was expecting, but in the first chapters the main character is forced to share a bed with a cannibal who hugs him in his sleep. It's hilarious! I mean, I'm only on Chapter 7 (out of, like, 150), but still. Awesome.

Finished the second and third book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. They were called specific cities, but I can't remember the order. I think there was some ash, some glass...the other one escapes me completely. Which isn't anything against her (though, really, varying titles is an awesome way for people to remember them). The books were exciting and easy to read, and I totally believed in the world and the characters. Characters are key, and these ones had me reacting to their actions. Seriously, the romance that played out over the three books nearly killed me.

Also read Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins. The story is about an ex-CIA operative who winds up cursed by a medicine man in the Amazonian jungle and then finds himself living in a convent in the Syrian desert with an Order devoted to the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima. Also, the Abbess was the the model in Matisse's "Woman in Blue." No, really. My favorite thing about Tom Robbins is how many plots intersect. This wasn't my favorite of his books, but definitely enjoyable. Though long. I felt like I was reading it forever and some of the scenes seemed to drag a bit. But Switters was a great protagonist, and all the small parts that came together were really fabulous.

So. Back to the whale. (Whom I haven't met yet, but am eagerly anticipating.)