Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recent Books I've Read

by Sariah S. Wilson

This has been a huge family day and I'm worn out from all the running around and celebrating we did today, so this will probably be short.

One of the things I worry about as a writer is repeating myself. How can you write a lot of books and not repeat things? When I started writing my third book I found that I had inserted a scene very similar to my first and I had to remove it. I had to fix some of the climax scenes because they too bore resemblance to earlier works. (I suppose I like certain types of action scenes.)

I've recently read some NYT bestsellers and felt pretty disappointed. As I've said, I understand the tendency to repeat yourself or to do things that feel very similar to previous works and that it gets harder to write new things as time goes on.

So, with James Patterson's "Witch and Wizard," I think I can say that I don't get James Patterson. Maybe it's because I haven't read some of his earlier suspense/thriller novels, but I read "Sundays at Tiffany's" and I didn't think it was romantic. I thought it was creepy. I couldn't get why people liked it.

That novel, of course, wasn't technically written by Patterson. He's so famous now that he has only to put his name on something and let somebody else write it and it goes to number one (how must it be?). Perhaps that's part of the problem, that the book technically isn't his voice. It may have been his ideas and done under his direction, but the words aren't his. And isn't that why you buy an author? Not for the idea, but the execution?

I think I would like to read some of his earlier novels that he actually wrote and see if I like them. Because there must be something to him to do as well as he does.

"Witch and Wizard" is terrible. I like YA postapocalyptic fiction. I like paranormals. But this one, for me, failed on every account. The reactions to the circumstances, the language used, the powers, the multiple paranormal things happening...I finished it (since I usually finish books) but I didn't like it and I won't be reading any of the (obviously coming) sequels.

I also finished "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. I read once that the first Dan Brown book you read will be your favorite, and so far that continues to hold true for me. I wasn't impressed. In "The DaVinci Code," the information felt far more organic. It seemed to flow better when he introduced some new, fascinating fact. This time I felt like I was being lectured and information dumps happened in several chapters. I also wasn't surprised by any of the "twists" in this book - it was pretty easy to figure out who the shadowy bad guys were and what people wanted. Having watched "National Treasure," I figured the Masons could do better treasure-wise than they did in Brown's book. I also thought the motivations in this one were not nearly as good or believable.

How about you? Read any good books lately?


At 4/11/2010 12:31 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I haven't read a lot of Patterson and what I have read was contemporary suspense so this YA Dystopian thing throws me off in a big way. Not that he shouldn't write it, just that it surprised me a great deal. Hmm.

Good books I've read lately? I was a beta reader for someone and you don't know how badly I wish I could say her book was on the shelf because it was phenomenal. Hopefully soon!

At 4/11/2010 9:29 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Sundays at Tiffany's was a poor rendition and not up to Patterson's standards. He probably had little to do with the actual writing.

At 4/11/2010 11:10 AM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

It sounds like Mr. Patterson and/or his publisher got a little greedy. They can't wait for him to write his own books, or maybe he doesn't want to write any longer, and they used his name recognition, substituting lesser skilled ghostwriters to continue to churn out the stories. I wonder if he still does book signings. Can a man sign his name, in good conscience, to the title page of a book he didn’t pen? Or maybe I’m not giving him enough credit and he’s just changing his style.

At 4/11/2010 11:14 AM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

I don't mean to sound ignorant, but since I'm still a greenhorn to writing . . . what is a beta reader?

At 4/14/2010 12:11 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

One of the best "let your hair down and read" books I've read in a while was from the kids section at my library. It's called "The Blue Shoe: A Tale of Thievery, Villainy, Sorcery, and Shoes" written by Roderick Townley. It's very tongue-in-cheek and just fun.

BTW--your website made it onto my top ten list. Check it out for a good laugh.

At 4/14/2010 8:59 PM, Blogger Allison said...

I definitely think that if an author's name is on the cover, they need to have personally written the book. As for good books I've read lately, two great ones were Crossfire by Traci Hunter Abramson and Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon. Totally different genres, but what can I say? I like variety. :)


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