Back for more? That’s the spirit!

by Neeks

Soooo. My last post, one may recall, was about why I’m not writing. This one will be about wanting to. It’s for a snarky reason, I admit.

I’m reading a sci-fi book. I’m not going to name it; I don’t want to be unkind specifically. I’ll just be a little candid. A neutron star comes close enough to upset our solar system. We have a base on the moon as well as a space station and we can’t do long distance space travel yet. The Earth won‘t be able to escape.

With so many pen names out there it’s always hard to tell but I feel certain the author is a male. All the women are described as buxom and most are wearing tight spacesuits and clothing. Early on, the amount of cleavage a woman does or does not display is described each time one walks into a scene, as well as what everyone think about it. It isn’t risqué, so far there’s been nothing more than a few kisses but the character descriptions are a definite tell. I’m not saying that most men think that way or any such thing, don’t send me any nastygrams, but women simply don’t describe themselves like that.  I’ve never seen a book by a female author where the bosoms of every single woman are included in her character description. I found it amusing, even if it did pull me out of the story for a second when I noticed it.

Aside from the typos I unfortunately see in many free E-publications, I’ve noticed the book has more clichés than a cow has spots. I’ve heard so many times don’t use clichés; find another way to say it. Wow is that true! Remember now, if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, find some original words because clichés are about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. When all is said and done, they only serve to pull the reader out of the story, and I’m not pulling your leg. Too many clichés are kind of like air-brakes on a turtle. Stop reading, roll eyes. Stop reading, roll eyes. See the problem?

Next. In between perfectly normal bits of dialogue these characters keep saying things like, “I don‘t know what I shall do now,” and, “it was very observant of you to notice that fact.” Who talks like that? Okay, who in THIS century talks like that? Worse this writer is lazy too. When the station commander is going to tell his best friend the ace pilot that a neutron sun is going to destroy life on Earth as we know it he does so by summoning him to a meeting – where he promptly hands the guy a folder. He refuses to answer a single question and then leaves the room for a half hour to let the guy read it. It explains everything, so the writer doesn’t have to describe that whole scene. He keeps mentioning that characters are concerned with the lives of people on Earth but not a single character is anguished about it. Not one of them is thinking of his mother’s face or will she ever see her son again. No one breaks down or seems to give it more than a passing thought.

I’m going to continue reading because I want to see if they escape and how it’s all handled but the more I read the more it makes me want to sit down and work on my own stories. Interesting effect it’s having on me. Mark my words, I’m not just paying lip service, and that‘s no joke!


25 Comments to “Back for more? That’s the spirit!”

  1. Haha, great post Neeks! Everytime you slipped a cliché in there, it made me giggle! Thanks for this you buxom lady.

  2. Fair comments, nicely handled. Good post 🙂

    • Thanks Chris, glad you liked it. To be fair, I’m on the second little book in the author’s “series” and he’s gotten much better about his observations about females. Keep seeing errors like there/their, and stuff like that though.

  3. I know what you mean neeks. Sometimes I read a book and think “Well if they can publish this, then I can certainly publish mine!” and it can spur you on. But then there are those times where you read something brilliant and think “Well I might as well give up now.” Hehe.

    • I know,right? That’s what I meant when I said I had a snarky reason for wanting to write, because if stuff like this can end up as an ebook – well I’ve said before I’m no scholar, but it makes me feel a lot better about my own work, LOL.

      • I love this comment thread in particular, because I often feel the same way – on both sides of the fence.

        I wonder if the author’s choice for describing women by their physical characteristics has anything to do with the perception of women on a space station that sounds like it’s very militaristic by nature. While women are playing more significant roles in the military and command than they did a century ago, it’s still very much a boys’ club. Or, perhaps that’s me being optimistic about the author’s commentary style. 🙂

        I do wish more E-authors would make the same effort a traditional publisher (usually) asks of them. I’ve seen a few who have “published” several books online through Goodreads or Smashwords or whatever…and they’re just terrible. I mean, it looks like the text was transliterated from a different language! It frustrates me that those people can get 5 Stars while I keep kicking myself in the behind to make a story better and better. Ah, well.

        Nice post, Neeks! 🙂

    • Oh Mayumi, I know what you mean! Some of those ebook authors, notice I do not include myself in that category. Yes I wrote a book at nanowrimo last year, but I don’t expect it to ever see the light of day. I don’t know enough about editing to edit my own book and we always miss our own stuff anyhow…
      As for this particular book set, the entire space station and moon site, etc., are all entirely civilian. That’s not to say the author may not have had a military presence in his own life though. Who knows? I finished the series and I did like them, the idea was just so cool. I am a complete and total sci-fi nerd.

  4. I’ve gotta read this book! If it makes me want to write more than I already do – it’s a winner!

    • Thanks Sophie, but giving the name out would turn this article from a little funny but interesting (I hope!) into one that is a little unkind and I don’t have the credentials to act like that. You can download your own though, go read the blurbs on some of those ebooks, you’ll find one, I’m sure!

  5. You are making a case for good editors. Yay!

  6. Oh, what Vanessa said! When I read something that has all the things that make a bad book, I think my WIPs are so much better. Of course, other times I think, “Just because mine is better than garbage doesn’t mean it’s good.” And when I read something really well-written, it can be discouraging. But I’m still struggling forward, even if a tortoise looks like a cheetah next to me!

    • I agree jm, on all points. I read works by really good authors and it can be discouraging, but the quality of work also serves to inspire ~ I want my work to be like that too.

  7. I shake my head when a self-published book has so many typos. You’re not giving your reader the best experience you can and they won’t buy anything else of yours. I don’t mind the odd cliche, but no more. 🙂

  8. Har… yet, bet that since most films are made by men, that is exactly the shot you’d see with each new character – boob shot. Once I notice something of that nature, my brain is on it like glue. I think back to reading Clancy’s stuff circa 2002 or so, and suddenly zeroed in on the fact the author is a tad well right of me and misogynist. With each new element that screamed these things, I no longer had the capacity to immerse in the story.

    If this is going to get your fingers flapping, it is a very good thing.

    • Hehehe, flapping fingers, I like that. I know too, that nowadays the obligatory boob shot sells an awful lot of books and movies, not sure what that says about us as intelligent readers. I know it’s not what I read or watch for, but I’d be lying if I didn’t watch that scene in the first Terminator movie, when Arnie let’s it alllll hang out? ~ more than once when it came out.

  9. I suppose one can learn as much from reading a poorly written book as one can from reading a masterfully written one–only it’s a lot more painful!

    I recently read a book from an author I used to admire. I don’t know what happened to her, but this book was awful. I read it through to the end hoping it would get better. It didn’t. So I feel your pain!

    • This set is actually improving. I think the idea is really cool, sci-fi geek that I am, so I must finish. You are right, there is a lot to learn from a poorly written book, I see all kinds of things that I want to recheck my work for.

  10. I love this post, Neeks. I feel the same way about books that aren’t polished. It drives me up the wall! 😉 But it’s true that it can drive us back to our projects and work harder than before, if only to show that we can do better than that.

    • It spurs me on, because I read and then think (stranger things have been known to happen!) – I don’t want someone to read my work and find errors like that. I don’t want someone else to use me as the basis of a snarky post, lol.

      • Well, not too snarky I hope, and I think I’ve redeemed myself a little by saying the author has improved greatly in the second book.

  11. I’ve noticed a lot of such things in the free books, but there are some really good ones out there as well. I’m excited, though, that it’s spurring you on to want to write again. Let us know how it works for you! I could use a little motivation, myself.

    • I’ve certainly read a lot of really good ebooks. So many of them are free too! That fits my budget exactly, and if I get one that is sub-par, well I really haven’t invested anything so there is no loss.

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