September 7, 2011
So I’m watching t.v. the other night with Kimmy-the-wonderwife and it’s becoming painful. We’re less than fifteen minutes in and both of us know exactly what’s going to happen during the remaining fifteen minutes.
“I can’t believe this,” I rant, “we could write the end of this show.”
Of course, we’re both wrong. As it turns out, we did correctly predict every twist and turn in the rest of the episode, but there’s no way we could have written that show. Writing is hard. This is even true when we’re talking about bad television shows that miss their mark.
Maybe television is too hard. What about a book? Judging from the book I’m about to stop reading … not so much.
I love Nero Wolfe mysteries so a friend suggested I read one written by someone other than Rex Stout. This friend has given me great recommendations on many obscure books but I’m having real trouble getting into this one.
The author is clearly talented. The characters are well-drawn. The dialogue is believable. If he were writing his own book with fresh characters I would keep reading.
But this isn’t the Nero Wolfe and Archie I’ve come to know. There’s a lot I learned about Wolfe and Archie by reading between the lines. There are things I know about them and their relationship and habits that I inferred.
I think the same is true of this other author. He drew conclusions about the characters and setting and forgets that these largely went unsaid and so in his version of the stories they are going, um , said.
So as I struggle through this process of finding my voice again, I have to remember that what isn’t said is as important to the reader as… well, you know.