I am about to commit multiple counts of blasphemy, please forgive me if I happen to list your favorite author. But remember, I did say favorite authors. I love their work even if there are a few things they do that really irritate me. Several of these things relate specifically to a certain series; there are very few authors that I have read their entire body of work.
Most of these are things that have shaped my own writing style: I say to myself, “Don’t do that! It drives me nuts!”
I loved the Elric of Melnibone series, the action sequences were fast, and visceral. Yet there were a couple of glaring things that bothered me even when I was a young man.
First; the lack of detail. I can’t tell you how many times I would have to re-read something 3-4 times just to figure out what the author was trying to tell me. He wasn’t clear many times, and other times would simply make an assumption that wasn’t detailed in the story and run with it.
Second; was the lack of societal development for the Melnibonian people, and the development of his main character, Elric. When Elric would do something completely alien to human sensibilities he would write something like “Melnibonians were not human, and did not have their sensibilities.” He would use that and similar phrasing to bypass that lack of development when what his character did made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I’ve read the series 3-4 times now, and still can’t tell you why the heck he ended up leading the pirates to the city to burn it. It would have been nice to have some development so I could have SOME idea of why.
I loved the Sword of Truth series, and I would recommend it to anyone. Fantastic stuff, and it had one of the best bad guys ever written; Darken Rahl. He would use Darth Vader like a cheap blow-up girlfriend.
But… the monologues. Oh my goodness, the further you go into the series (after book six it becomes really noticeable) Richard will jump up on his soapbox and preach it. Which is cool… to a point. In the eighth book in particular you have to go through several multiple page monologues that pretty much say the exact same thing that he has been saying all along.
Thanks man… I got it the first time.
Robert Jordan (I’m about to get my first hate letter!!!! Yay!)
The Wheel of time is great. The one thing I admire about Robert Jordan is his ability to write complex, convincing female characters. I have never read another male author that could do it as well as he can.
But.. he is the absolute opposite end of the spectrum from Michael Moorcock. He goes into so much detail, he will literally write an entire paragraph (I’m not joking!) about the fly that just landed on his character. And then, when it comes to an action scene (where the detail really matters) none of that care is to be found. Instead of telling you how a person moved and skewered their opponent, he will use a pretty metaphor: “He quickly dropped into the thrashing walrus form and readied for his attack.”
And finally, let’s see how much hate I can generate.
George R.R. Martin (I’ll get a death threat for this one…)
The Chronicles of Fire and Ice are very well known now, at least they are when you simply say: “Game of Thrones”.
I loved George’s “let’s do what nobody expects” attitude. “I’ll kill off a main character!”, Ok. Ned Stark’s death was great, it was awesome, it moved the story and the remaining characters forward. And it was unexpected.
Then… he just keeps doing it. The shock value was pretty well lost after Rob Stark’s death. I don’t mind killing characters really, but it doesn’t mean anything anymore. It isn’t moving the story, and it’s no longer shocking. It has gotten to the point where after the fifth book here, if the people that looked like they were dead are dead… I don’t care enough about any of the characters that are left to bother buying the book. I’ll read it second hand, thank you.
The other complaint about the series is that there seems to be very little actually occurring in regards to the unifying plot: which is the Chronicles of Fire and Ice. The conflict between the White Walkers and the fire Priests of ror-ror or whatever his name is. The amount of story that has been devoted to that plot isn’t even half the size of the first book if you remove everything else. He knows this, and has padded the entire thing with several unrelated subplots; some of which are great reads. The others you find yourself plodding through just so you can get back to the characters that matter to you. (Since he has had to toss in a bunch of new characters you don’t give a damn about in order to repopulate.)
But for me, I have to care about a character to continue to read a book. And like I said, he’s managed to pretty much kill them all off now.
These things that have bugged the heck out of me have made me specifically make my “Don’t do that!” list.
Does anyone have an author they have read that has made them put something or their “Don’t do” list? I’d like to hear it!