Next up for review at the christian manifesto by Davis Bunn  Book of Dreams. I’m a bit puzzled by this one. Bunn breaks the first rule I was ever taught, and tells everything. He doesn’t show characters being happy, he tells the reader that they are happy.   He also uses a mirror to ‘info dump’ about the main character ( for my non-writing friends this is a  HIT THE WRITER ON THE NOSE WITH A ROLLED UP NEWSPAPER BAD WRITER BAD thing for us to do) and sets up a character that is introduced in the first chapter as DEAD MEAT. He is so  heavy handed with descriptions to make the reader care, and  makes sure that the reader understands if this person dies, they are going to heaven.  I will be shocked if the character is alive when we get back to them.  It makes me want to tear my hair out, or chew pens.  Why? Remember my bag?

That rule still applies today. It hasn’t changed. And yet, books like the one above totally and completely ignore it.  And get published. And sell millions of copies. While books that follow that rule, like A Star Curiously Singing, sell only thousands.  Someone, explain this to me. Tell me why it is that a book that breaks all the good writing rules flourishes, and one that meticulously keeps them, struggles to find its audience.  I don’t care if you tell me that the fae are behind it. Just give me an answer!

  1. Kaleb says:

    It’s easier to be told something than to reach the same conclusion by ones self. It doesn’t strain the brain or force to reader to actually think.

    • I started thinking that today at work Kaleb. And then I shuddered. I don’t get that. If you aren’t straining your brain to chase the author through the text, what ARE you doing when you read? A books like a game of tag (a good one anyway) and this is more like. ..watching paint dry.

      • Kaleb says:

        They’re relaxing and just enjoying the story.

        And, of course, there’s also the part about how most readers aren’t writers, and so don’t really care so much about the things that tick writers off.

  2. marvelousdiscovery says:

    The fae are behind it.

  3. marvelousdiscovery says:

    No, because there are a lot of people out there who do not care about good writing. *shrug* I don’t understand it.

  4. H. A. Titus says:

    I don’t know, and it drives me nuts too.

  5. Amanda says:

    I find this often in editing. “But… this book has it this way!” people say. I reply: “But you have to be the best. Not just good, or okay. Your writing has to be the best, and this is why you can’t write like this.”
    Often times, the books that make you and I pull our hair out are the ones that have a big corporation, an agent, or a large marketing team behind them. That’s why they do so well. Sad, isn’t it?

    • It’s terrifyingly sad. I mean, I don’t have words to describe how bad this book is. And yet:

      “Inventive and Incisive, his fiction never disappoints. And he’s scored again with BOOK OF DREAMS don’t miss this one” ~Jerry Jenkins

      “Book of Dreams is wonderful. Davis Bunn has created a literary delight that underscores the power of God’s Word. I could not put this down.” ~Anne Graham Lotz

      • Amanda says:

        *facepalm* Seriously?

      • *YES* Thank goodness Byran Davis was scratching his head too, or I’d begin to doubt my writer’s sanity.

        I will say it gets more “readable” as the characters talk to each other. However, it is also getting more mystical and he’s describing things like what the protag is eating for breakfast. *HELP* I can not believe that this got published. What, do rules no longer apply to the “established”? I do NOT get this.

  6. CCDragonKissedFiendishRattler says:

    We live in the age of instant gratification. With technology all around us and anything we would want to know at our fingertips, on our cellphones, computers, etc, people have lost their ability to be patient. They don’t want to go to the doctor, they can diagnose themselves on google. They don’t have to wait for the weather report, they can pul it up on their phone. They don’t want to find the master of a trade to learn it from, they can find a tutorial on YouTube. And perhaps most of all, they don’t want to live out a story, they want to know the story and move on. No one wants to sit and read a book anymore. If they want to know the story, they can go to Wikipedia. They “don’t have time” to discover the story, or have it shown to them. So books like this, written more like an article on Wiki that divulge everything you want to know about a character up front, have become more popular. And it sickens me. :/

    • They are RUINING BOOKS. And this is the SECOND one I’ve had to read that’s like this. Both by big names, both by new york times best selling authors. And neither one is worth the price of the e-book.

      • CCDragonKissedFiendishRattler says:

        I know!! Ugh. It makes my heart drop to my stomach. You can’t get away with murder, even if you are the police chief. Just because everyone knows your name doesn’t mean you can abuse them. *end rant*

  7. Galadriel says:

    Some people don’t want to interpret when they read. Sad, but true. Sometimes it does work–try Hitchhiker’s Guide for the Galaxy for a novel that breaks so many rules but works!

  8. I… WANT… THAT… BAG!!! 😀

    Seriously though, I know the feeling. There is something about “telling” a story in today’s writing society that is just… it’s just not right. Sorry… it’s not. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien managed to get away with it, and quite honestly if I could find a book today that had mastered the art of “telling” a story the way their books did, it might change my mind on the matter. But up to this point in time, no writer that I’ve ever heard of alive today has managed to tame the wild beast that is the “telling” part of a writer’s soul… how Tolkien and Lewis managed, we may never know. But they were masters… if that wasn’t clear enough before, let it be so now. 😀

    • Some telling you have to do, I get that. BUT NOT WHAT THE CHARACTER WAS FEELING. I mean I knew that Teddy Wainwright was HAPPY because Bunn TOLD me he was. >.<

      "Teddy Wainwright was happy."<—-literally the first sentence of the book. *first* sentence

      As for the bag 😀 I got it through Cafe Press. If you search for "Anton Chekhov Quotes" in "bags" there are a number of different styles. This one was $18.99 PLUS 5.00 shipping. But I had a coupon xD So it was just the $18.99. They're running a lot of sales through the Summer. Keep checking back to snag the best deal.

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