I love tackling books written prior to the 1940's. They wrote in a different voice - if that makes any sense at all.
Sadly, I realized that over the years authors have scaled down their depth and their writing styles to accomodate readers. Detailed descriptions of landscapes and well-worded emotional expressions used to form part of our vernacular. Now the echoing blast from a gun gets broken down to mili-seconds and stripped into words - which the editors eventually scratch out.
Do we no longer credit readers with brains? Or has illiteracy ratings guided us to a more depraved grammar in order to make our stories more readable? Or has self-publishing opened the door for writers who would normally not have made it to the shelf?
I.J., Hamilton truly departs from the standard pulp fiction style that I see in many of today's mystery and suspense novels. He's raising the bar, and others are going to follow, which could be a great thing . . . or truly awful.
I wrote a review of The Lock Artist based on his use of tropes in the novel, which I'm glad I wrote after I reread the novel. First time was for me, just to enjoy: and I did. But dummy me, I completely missed the fact that it's for a YA audience because I so enjoyed the novel . . . and I'm not an avid YA reader. Hamilton got the Edgar for it, and he deserved it. My review's here. www.buzzardbone.blogspot.com. Take a gander if you'd like, on the Review tab. Darn site's not quite working smoothly yet. I'm on it, though.
Mary, I have to spend more time on Hamilton. I think he is close to my writing style. However I tend to keep descriptions to a minimum - hence the discussion Do we credit readers with brains... I try to leave the reader on the edge, giving them a taste but not giving away the farm (pardon the slang). Would love to get your review of my book.
There was an author who wrote the entire length of a novel without describing one person or one room the entire book. Don't know who it was. Also read about another author who forced himself to describe only mundane, unnoticeable elements and emotions. Should make for a good read.
James, it's such a struggle trying to get the right style. I love minimalist style, and I used to write like that, but I've got some come-uppance in workshop critiques. "Feels like I'm walking off a cliff into God knows where," one workshopper said. It was a pain listening to that stuff because I didn't want to write for readers: I (confession time, here) was writing for me, or more telling, for my education level, and readers were not connecting because I also had that terrible high literary 'tude thing going on--bad, bad, bad. It didn't translate to readers with what you're shooting for: the readers' sweet spot, where they get just enough--a taste--to make them want to read on, without giving away the farm. It's a fine line: one that's challenging to walk, but oh so fun!
I was writing my reply and . . . duh! . . . I saw your request for a review. Goin' to your site now: will get it and do the review for August. I'm also reviewing 1/1: Jihad - Britain by Jack Everett and David Coles. Jack's a CS member. I'll put yours and his reviews in my August Buzzard Bone. And . . . thanks for asking. I really love doing reviews.
Mary, I'm sure the hardest thing for a writer is the feeling that he's selling out or lowering his standards for the sake of others. I believe you pinned it, though. You're dead-on in hinting that we SHOULD write for ourselves, not others. I know, I know. With my next book I'm trying to use a slightly more commercial vehicle, but I'm still telling MY story My way (pardon the sinatra-ism). I've also had complaints about ending things too bluntly by playing into a half-denouement and leaving it. I'm working on this. Not everyone thinks like me and not everyone appreciates what I would. Granted, I'm no Amy Winehouse, but I do have a contorted view of things. Have some sympathy for my wife for putting up with me. I'm no day at the beach.
Thanks for the advice. When I began this discussion, I was greatly perplexed by the drop in educational growth in my country. I'm no genius - far from it! But I had such a concern that people are being left behind and I wanted to shake them and slap them up a bit and put a book in their hand and say "Read or die!"
Thanks for the review. Let me know when it's out, would love to link it on my site/FB?Twitter.