So Much for Happily Ever After

The way I rate entertainment is based on how much I care about the characters. Whether I’m watching a film, series or reading a book, if I care about the characters I will enjoy the reading/watching process. (If the story’s good too that’s an extra bonus). Viewer/reader apathy is a sign of bad entertainment. (Well that and bad writing – but that’s a whole other topic).

With any series I’ve followed for a long time, I get irrationally attached to the characters. So much so that I had to physically stop myself from turning to the last page of Harry Potter. (I just wanted to check they were all ok!)

Two of my favourite things are coming out this month. The 7th Shopaholic book and Season 11 of Grey’s Anatomy (although I don’t actually know when that will be shown in the UK). I’ve googled Grey’s Anatomy a bit … just to break up the work day monotony, you know? Anywho. It’s all pointing to the two central characters splitting up. (Pause for shocked silence).

This news actually upset me. I love Grey’s, it’s just great escapist watching, and after ten years of loyal watching I want my two favourite characters to live happily ever after. Forget this splitting up nonsense. For me, one of the joys about escaping into light fiction of any media is the promise of a happy ending. It’s why I enjoy chick lit and rom coms so much.

I really hope this is just drumming up media attention, because if they do split up (god forbid) it’ll feel like I’ve wasted all those hours of my life caring. I could never re-watch an episode because I know that’s how it ends.

I know, I know, this doesn’t affect real day to day life. But in a way it does. Happy endings  give you hope and make you feel good. And when things don’t go how you want them to, well it’s a classic case of pinning life’s disappointments somewhere they don’t necessarily belong.

So here’s my plea to writers and creators, in a universe you can control (i.e. fiction), feel free to create a bit of dramatic conflict but let your romantic leads run off into the sunset in the end. Please?

After all, if I want upset on my screen, I can just turn on the news.

On a side note, (and a bit of good news) I’ve reached over 100 followers. I’m absolutely delighted and can’t thank you all enough for reading 🙂
Advertisements

You Effing What?!

Have I got your attention? Lovely. Don’t worry you’re not in for a rant.

What do you think to swearing and what do you think its place in books?

Swearing

Personally I don’t find off the cuff swearing offensive, if someone was swearing at me I might get upset but to hear something along the lines of ‘oh my f***ing god’ doesn’t really register. Is that bad of me? I only realise how much I swear when I try not to but then I trip over (as a naturally clumsy person tends to) and a stream of panicked expletives fly out my mouth. Oops.

In fiction, unlike real life, we don’t have the risk of our mouths firing before our brain’s approval. So what does that mean for swearing? In my book (which is currently going into it’s third draft) my characters swear quite a bit. Now, I haven’t chosen to do this for any sort of shock factor, my characters swear because everyone I know swears and my characters are supposed to be damn close to real people (just more interesting).

I’ve read a lot about swearing in writing being a poor choice, when you have a whole lexicon at your disposal why resort to effing and blinding? In some ways I agree. When you’re writing a description in third person it would seem odd to say ‘it was ****ing raining’. But, in dialogue I think it can sound natural and dialogue should sound natural.

I should point out here that I’m not writing a children’s book (there are lines) … but saying that, even Mrs Weasley calls Bellatrix Lestrange a bitch.

Anyway, what do you think? Does swearing have a place in writing? Or should we rise above?

But it’s a Classic …

Put your hand on your heart and answer honestly, how many classic stories have you ever read just because you wanted to? … If you’re anything like me the answer will be under five.

Almost every classic novel or story I’ve read has been at the hand of a reading list, I’ve rarely ever picked one up to read for the sake of reading. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent classics out there and some that are even easy to read (‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Persuasion’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ …) but in my experience, whether I’ve found them worthwhile or not, reading classic novels can be a slog.

Let’s look at the facts:

– Generally they are very long

– Generally they are very wordy using archaic language of their time

– Generally the plot moves very slowly (have you ever tried to read ‘Robinson Crusoe’?)

And by the time you come to modernism in the early 20th Century, the plots are so damn incomprehensible that you’re no closer to understanding them at the end than you were at the beginning- (I mean ‘Ulysses’ was written to be difficult to read).

girl-tired-reading-books-studying-school-22085676

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big bibliophile and I think teaching literature to the next generation (and a lot of the current one) is vital. But more than that, I enjoy reading and therefore I want to read books I enjoy and that can exclude a lot of classics. So what qualifies as a classic? Why do we read them if they’re difficult?

According to Wikipedia, a classic book is “a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, either through an imprimatur such as being listed in any of the Western canons or through a reader’s own personal opinion.” Pretty vague, right? By definition, the very basis of a classic novel is completely subjective. (And any lit student knows what a pain in the bum subjectivity is).

For me classic literature falls into three columns: easy books I enjoyed, difficult books I could appreciate and difficult books that I didn’t appreciate. In column one, let’s take Austen, I enjoyed ‘Persuasion’ because it was easy and I can appreciate it’s importance lies in the way it documents social norms of Austen’s time… but let’s call a spade a spade, if Austen were writing now she’d be a successful chick lit author. Then in column two there’s Dickens, I can appreciate ‘Great Expectations’ and I’m glad I read it, but I enjoyed it more after I’d read the final page. Finally in column three, there’s ‘Caleb Williams’ by Godwin, the most boring book I’ve ever read and even after a lecture  I fail to see why it’s important.

So here’s my question, do you enjoy classics or do you read them because they’re worthwhile? Which ones did you enjoy? Which did you think were worthwhile? And which would you banish to room 101 for being schoolroom torture?

Follow on Bloglovin