27 January 2009

Adjusting to different writing styles

Lately, I've been consuming a lot of romances, and most of them have had a similar writing style. I've been enjoying the work of Lori Wick in particular. Not only have I been reading her books, but I've been listening to them on audio while I work, as well -- all Wick, all the time. Now I am wondering if such an immersion is making it difficult for me to enjoy other styles.

Yesterday, I tried to listen to Alexander McCall Smith's Tears of the Giraffe, and it took great will power not to abandon it after the first disc. I've been listening to his online novel Corduroy Mansions and enjoying it. I also liked the movie based on the first book of his series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Because I like his other work, I was surprised to not like Tears of the Giraffe. The problem I had with it is what I call his musing style.

In most romances I've read, you have passages that are like this:

Girl goes here. Girl does this. Girl talks to Boy. Girl and Boy go do that.

In McCall Smith's stories, the passages are more like this:

Girl wakes up and muses for five minutes about something that happened in the past that is totally related to the plot. Girl makes a cup of tea and muses about something else that has nothing to do with the plot. Girl gets in car and while driving, she muses about something else that doesn't further the plot.

In Corduroy Mansions, he does the same thing, but the musings don't bother me as much. For one, that book takes place in London so the musings are about things I can relate to (unlike the dogs and chickens in his African books). Secondly, I'm listening to Corduroy Mansions as a serial. The meandering pace of the book is easier to swallow if you only get a small bit each day.

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