I sat down today all prepared to hash out a blog entry and then it turned out I was not connected to the internet. I shall interpret that as God telling me to just find a different topic.
Well, okay. I’m fine with that. But I really think if God’s going to take away my perfectly good topic from before that I should then be divinely inspired with a secondary topic. It’s going on 8 hours now and no secondary topic has appeared. I thought about writing yet again about my complaints on this Michael West book, but I’ve already tormented Johne Cook with them and since he’s about 70% of my readership I don’t want to repeat myself.
Oh yes I do. In fact, maybe this is my topic. Writers and their gettin’ fancy with the vocab are about to drive me nuts. See, I’m reading this excellent classic body of work by the peerless Lois McMaster Bujold, but it IS really intense. And so after every couple of books I set it aside and take a break with something a bit lighter. Today’s break was a book by an Indie author that I grabbed free on Kindle and was saving for Midsummer. They call it “urban fantasy” now, but it’s one of those love children of Lovecraft and Peter Benchley for which summer reading is made. You know…”Something is …ALIVE… under the ocean.” That kind of thing.
Two chapters into this book, the guy has already had a window and a flashlight “ignite”. Now, in my brain I KNOW he means “a light came on in the window” and “the flashlight turned on.” But he says “ignite” because…I don’t know. I guess because it’s crafty.
I wish writers would NOT do that. Because it may seem very Creative Writing to them, but to me it comes across as the pinnacle of stupid. Is the window bursting into flame? Did he drop the burning flashlight to the ground? It just stinks of trying too hard.
Last week I took a break and tried to get into a series of mystery novels set right here in the town where I live. I thought it could be fun. But then right there at the beginning we had a vermillion puddle reflecting the halogen lights*. Two things were wrong there. One: Vermillion??? Come on. This is a mystery novel, not a Sherwin Williams. Blood is red. Just go with it. The second thing, though, is that a puddle of blood on the plinth of a statue in the dark of pre-dawn early morning is going to look blackish. Not “vermillion” or “cerise” or even “carmine”. Black. And blood is not really the most reflective of surfaces, but that’s not such a big deal. Not as big a deal as vermillion.
These two examples are the reason why it’s such an important thing for writers to read a lot. Because when you read a lot you can spot the clunkers in your own writing a lot more easily.
And there. It’s not the topic I meant to write about, but it’s the one that happened. Blame God, I guess, if you’re displeased.
*this was the author’s wording. Not mine. Oh, mercy. Not mine.