Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Has anyone else noticed this?

I spent the weekend reading and relaxing.  I didn't even check my phone for messages for two days!  As I mentioned I got a new toy for Christmas; a NOOK (electronic book).  I really like it, despite the fact that I never ever thought I'd get one due to my love for actual books made of paper.  I couldn't wait to go e-shopping for e-books.  I found several but decided to start off with two by author's that I've read before and admired--both have written stories n the interracial genre.

To my supreme disappointment, I noticed that the first book was mostly filler.  What I mean is that a publisher will say; I need a novel with 180,000 to 200,000 words.  But you only have a story with 60,000 words (Like what happened with me when I'd written JUICY).  So instead of just developing the story, maybe broadening it, a writer will just fill it with 'fluff'.  The first story was so tedious that I broke my first rule by skimming through much of it.  I won't mention the Author because in general it is a person that has written amazing pieces of work.  In this case the Author filled the story with horrendous novels read by one of the characters.  These novels within the story took up about a quarter of the book and was freaking tedious!  I truly felt jipped out of a complete story as the Author attempted to just 'pad' it to increase the word count.

So...moved on to the next book.  SAME THING!! This author wasn't quite as obvious but when you have multiple 'dream sequences' repeating the same tedious theme or memories that go on pages and pages...and in both cases they were romances with no sex!  There wasn't even unsatisfactory Harlequin Romance sex!

I won't blame this on just e-books, obviously they can be purchased in paper form.  I read a newly published book by Dean Koontz (I don't mind mentioning his name because there is nothing I could say that would hurt this man's popularity!), it was the most recent in his Brother Odd series and I noticed the same thing.  I was not satisfied by the story in the least and felt that he wasted too much paper (haha) talking about boring, unimportant things.

Sigh, I've become spoiled by the free stories on Literotica.  On that site you get a story; good story, bad story, but you get a story--not a bunch of filler!  Am I the only person noticing this?  Or is it because I'm engrossed in being a 'good' writer that I'm noticing things that I would not do.  Take Stephen King.  I love King.  I can tell you that he is my favorite writer.  That is not to mean that he is the best writer, but his style, his stories, his 'weirdness' just clicks with me.  And when he writes a good story, well nothing tops him in my opinion.  But he wrote a story called Under The Dome.  Has anyone read it?  Oh, I don't mean has anyone STARTED it, I mean has anyone COMPLETED it?  The book is promising; great concept but so freaking tedious.  It has always been my complaint with King; that he goes in to far too much detail--hey, maybe I do, as well for some readers.  But I still love the guy.  But I had to put down Under The Dome when he started writing from the POV of a woodchuck.  That was just too much...

Now, I believe in writing constructive reviews that may be deemed as negative, but only because I would want a new writer to see where there is room for improvements.  But for the two Author's that I read over the weekend; shame on you for forgetting the reason behind writing!  Shame on you for cheating a fan out of your best!  I still won't mention them because I don't ever want my criticism to 1) Effect someone's ability to get paid 2) feel that I am tearing them down.  But they've both written quite a few books, one even has a blogspot on Blogger (and might even be an anonymous follower).

I will probably provide feedback expressing my displeasure on my NOOK where you have an option to post a rating. But just wondered if anyone else has noticed this.



  1. "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn"

    Making a short work longer doesn't necessarily make it better. Probably not too many people think Hemingway could have improved on that short story by adding 179,994 extra words. Then again, not too many people are willing to pay $20 for a six-word novel.

    Publishers have to produce a product that will sell. But who's to blame for the fluff? Personally, I don't blame the author (well, not too much anyway). I blame the editor and publisher. If publishers are going to insist that a perfectly good 60k novel become a 180k novel, they should at least require that all 180k words are worth the paper they're printed on. I don't think many authors intentionally set out to write a book that readers will hate, but when it happens the editor should be able to reel them back in for a rewrite.

    Readers know when a book has wasted their time and money. An author might be able to get away with one or two bad apples, but an author who continually fails to satisfy readers won't have them for long.


    P.S. Long time listener, first time caller, so to speak. I've enjoyed watching your following grow so much over the past year. I hope you think of your increasing readership as a testament to how inspiring your stories truly are.

  2. Hey Pep,

    I actually did finish "Under the Dome" and I thought it was pretty good and yeah I think King has always gone a bit too far with the detail but that's to be expected with him, I believe its a habit that he's not apt to quit. And well after so many novels of his its one of things that I just expect him to do; I look for the paranormal and yearn for the weirdness as well as the various personalities of his characters in his works and I think just having pages and pages of detail comes with the territory. There are a couple of books that I could just not finish by him and that was "Gerald's Game" and "Insomnia" but for some reason the two books that you almost never hear about, "From a Buick 8" and "Rose Madder" of just two of my favorite books of his.


  3. I couldn't agree with you more, Pep. Economy in writing is generally a virtue, I think, and an often overlooked one.

    I think short stories are often superior to long novels, if written well. I don't like reading just for the sake of reading.

    I think the law of diminishing returns applies to writing just as much as it does to anything else.

    Hope all is well for you in the new year.


  4. Just b/c it's a "book", doesn't mean that the quality of writing is any better than any stories you'll read on websites like Literotica, where you can read stories for free. That's why I don't pay for ebooks. Why would I pay $5-10 for a story that's usually gonna be on the same par (or worse) as stuff i read on literotica or valentchamber? Stuff like that is a waste of money.

  5. I so agree with you Pep, when I got my Kindle I took my gift card and went on a shopping spree only to wish I had the real book so I could use the pages to line the litter box. I have often wondered what do the editors and publisher get paid for? The last Daniel Steele book I read, Big Girl, was horrific and she is MAIN STREAM! It was obvious that, since it was DS that anything she wrote was gonna be a winner. Well not so much. I had to ask myself through 25% of the book was it a broken record? It was the same point, only re-worded to make it look like something new was being said. Then there are some begining writers who think that once they put the last period on the last sentence that the book is ready to print. Uhh no can you edit it?! Simple grammer errors can drag a book down. A few can be over looked but when there, their and they're are not used properly it can really fuck the reading flow up. I hated english in school but I do remember some of the stuff that was taught and sometimes it is evident that some of these writers ditched school on " this is called a rough draft not your final paper" day.
    Yes Literotica and The Sweetest Taboo have spoiled me to talented writer and I would pay good money to read those books. I'd pay good money for your stories, Soular, SF69, Tangled and many many more. These are the artist that neeeeedd to be published and the latter two are. The talent that are on these sites is outstanding to say the least. Now dont get me wrong, I love almost anything free, but like a good pair of jeans you dont mind paying money for good quality. Something I can read again and again now that is money well spent.
    Well since you have a e-book now. a nice IR book by Savannah Frierson called Trolling Nights is a good read to me.

  6. A, I'm happy you commented! Hope to see you more.

    I'm going to pick up Under the Dome again, but Ohmygoodness, you said it was alright, you didn't say it was great. That is a huge book to read if it is just so-so. But I've read The Stand probably 3x and I'm not one of those that thinks it's his best work. The Talisman holds that honor for me. I've read that more than 5x since I was a teenager. The Gunslinger series is a close second. I didn't care for Gerald's game, but Insomnia was one that I liked.

    I agree with you JG, about the short stories having more substance. I was reading JJ Murray's blog and he had a self-proclaimed mini-rant about readers that complain that short stories don't have enough 'meat'. His position was that you get what you pay for--so shut the hell up. Obviously, they haven't been reading free shorts online!

    I still love my NOOK, but I did have a few moments when I said to myself "I paid all of this money just to read a bunch of crap when I could have been reading better stories online for free?!" Well I do agree that I don't mind putting out good money for something good...but I mind very much putting out good money for crap.

  7. Savannah Frierson; Trolling Nights. Thanks Kalibiggirl. She goes on my wishlist. Hey, does anyone have a NOOK and want to share books? Um...two of the ones that I already have suck but I have two more that look promising...

    Or better yet, I will start a new thread where we can promote good books so that we don't have to waste money on crap (that is my new favorite word of the day. I will probably say it at least 5 times while at work today!)

  8. Pep, I like this song by John Mayer for its simplicity, both musically and in the lyrics:


    Mayer may be a jerk, but if he is, he's a talented one.

    "Twice as much ain't twice as good, and can't sustain like one half could."


  9. Pep I feel your pain and I have actually thought the same thing about some of the books that I have recently purchased. The sad thing is that some authors think that people are not going to notice the lack of effort they put forth in that book.

    This is why I have started back reading on Lit and TST. Because personally I feel like investing my time and encouragement into potential authors who are willing to give a real effort.

    I have also tried to stick with some of the self published authors who are still passionate about their craft. But that doesnt always pan out either.

  10. Great song JG! It's one of my favorite Mayer songs for it's Bluesy influence. This is the version that I'm more familiar with (slightly more bluesy)


  11. Sigh...
    I purchased 2 Savannah Frierson books. I thought I was getting a great deal as they were only 2 bucks...wrong. Freaking stories are only 21 and 45 pages long. I am soooo pissed that I can't even say anthing more. And yes, I read the descriptions which did not mention this little tidbit of information (or lack thereof)

  12. Pep, I know exactly how you feel! I got a Kindle for Christmas and I have had some bad downloads myself! I've convinced myself that I'm just too "in the loop." I am by no means a writer, but I've gotten a more critical eye when it comes to stories considering I have about 400 ebooks on my computer, so I've done some reading! I download books hoping to get a WOS experience and I'm left with Green Eggs and Ham. I think I just need to be more picky, I've taken to reading a lot of the reviews on Amazon before I download or checking if they have a decent sample. I guess that's just the risk you take purchasing books online. Sometimes it's so great you forget that it's just a story, and others...it's like taking it in the butt with no lube, no chaser.

    I'm also too spoiled from Literotica, they've good great stories on there!

  13. Excellent version, Kim. Sounds like a studio recording, and it does have a more bluesy feel than the Grammy performance.

    I like this also:


    And this, for a lighter side of the blues (got to fight that gravity sometimes, you know):


    And how about this one?



  14. I absolutely love love love the blues. I hadn't seen any of those performances but each one got better than the last!

    Tell me, when was the last time you heard this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyKmBX6PCzA

    I requested this one at a party recently. The young 'uns had no idea about this music, but us old folks were jammin'!

  15. Hey Pep,

    I also wanted to comment on the Dean Koontz novels. After the passing of his pet I think his writing went into a slump, "Your Heart Belongs to Me" and "Odd Hours" as you mentioned were not some of his best. And frankly "Breathless" was kinda blah...the only recent one of his novels I found mildly interesting was "Relentless and the one before all those "The Darkest Evening of the Year."
    Oh and I don't know if you've ever heard of Kresley Cole's Immortal's After Dark series and Sandra Hill.. but I would definitely try Sandra Hill's viking novels, I believe every book I've read of hers has had me chuckling.


  16. Hi Pep,

    Try Mercedes Keys's Webster novels, especially the Webster-Field trilogy. Mi'Chelle Dodson Pretty Packages was also good and anything Latriva S. Nelson is pretty good.

  17. Pep, I'm a big fan of the blues also. As for most of the music that is popular today, especially with the young crowd, I just say there's no accounting for taste.

    I see someone recommended the Webster Fields trilogy by Mercedes Keyes. I read it a few years ago, and I liked it a lot, especially the first book. Ms. Keyes could really use a good editor, but she's a hell of a story teller.


  18. http://amberswann.com/mediastore/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=104&Itemid=53&vmcchk=1&Itemid=53

  19. http://amberswann.com/mediastore/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=6&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=66&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=53

  20. Pepper I picked up Under the Dome last November, and I liked it a lot. Was it one of his best? No. But it did remind me of some of his vintage works. I had stopped reading his novels a few years ago and thought this one sounded really intriguing, and it is. Trust that the Woodchuck was very brief lol (I do know what you mean though, I was tempted to put it down too). I don't mind the detail as long as I understand it, but sometimes if writers get too technical into a subject I know nothing about, I tend to just skim read. What I love about King is the way he writes his characters, you either care about them a lot or hate them with a passion, and Under the Dome is no different, and that's the strength of the book in my opinion. I finished it in a few days, I'd read it if I were you. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, but then again, if I were to write it I don't know what the heck I'd write, so I'll leave that to the professionals like you and King! WOS is awesome, just wanted you to know that. I'll get off my soapbox now, I can get kinda long-winded.

  21. Thanks Darlene. I'll definitely pick it up again (not sure when). King has the power to crush you with his words. He is the main reason that I don't write sad endings. You already know when you start out that someone you really care about will die...no if, ands, or buts about it.

  22. I have a kindle. What I have learned through my ereader experience is to search by reviews. I don't search by bestselling, but by highest reviews. I found a good novel that way. On the other hand, I randomly picked a book that had a very large word count. I though ok, something with some meat to eat. It read like one giant book outline and it cost about 7 bucks. I have also found some good free stories on The Valent Chamber. I can read both Literotica and The Chamber from my Kindle.

  23. Pep,

    I just had to let you know again how correct you were when you posted this back in January. Since late January until now I have purchased 3 ebooks and have been terribly disappointed with my purchases. I read the previews and I think ok this might be worth the few bucks only to get a 1/4 of a way into the book and feel terribly disappointed in my purchase. I don't get it, something has definitely shifted in the writing world that any and every one is becoming published with sub-standard material. I know that sounds harsh but seriously... if I am buying a book to read for enjoyment.. I want to escape the right here and now and enjoy a good tale of love, suspense, and whatever else.. but instead we are getting whatever the writer is feeling at the time. Non-consistent. This is sad!

  24. Carmella, I just purchased my first ebook in weeks and I've been too afraid to even start reading it. I've been using my NOOK to read free stories on Literotica etc. And I haven't been disappointed! Several readers here have truly hooked me up on stories.

    I noticed that some of the better known writers are submitting subpar work...Writers, you are getting paid to do this!!! I was disappointed in the last Brother Odd book by Dean Koontz. Same with the Anita Blake series. I wasted money on a Meghan Hart book too.


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