Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Irked By A Master

Status: Groggy But Happy

What's playing on the iPhone: I GET IT by Chevelle

I can't remember the last time I read a book that both annoyed the living crap out of me and kept me riveted at the same time. Until today.

And what book, you may ask, could evoke such two polar opposite reactions from someone normally inclined to love an author they consider both a master and a mentor from afar? (that would be Stephen Frickin' King, one of my all time favorites)


First off, it was awesome. I'd recommend it to anyone. HOWEVER, and this is a big fat however, it downright irked me, had me clenching my jaws and rolling my eyes, not the story mind you, that was just about flawless, but something the author did.

If there’s one rule I’ve learned—well, I’ve learned hundreds—but in the top three, one of the most crucial qualities of any good story is that the reader MUST be able to suspend belief in reality and that can’t happen if the AUTHOR keeps flinging out political zingers. It’s jarring, annoying, and it takes me right out of my reading zone. Granted, Stephen King is one of the few authors who can wield the omniscient pov with dazzling proficiency, but the danger is that connection between character and reader can be broken, especially if ideology trumps story. Blech!

Whether I agree, disagree, or am indifferent to the author’s ideology, if it detracts from the story, even if only to illicit a ‘hell yeah’, a few layers of illusion are swiped away. Don’t get me wrong, I love rooting for a character, but note my use of ‘character’, not author. Even as I write this I could play devil’s advocate with myself; some authors get off on pushing their point of view across, might even say that it adds flavor to a story and some readers might dig that, just not this reader. It always comes down to the story, and as a writer, I want a fifteen year old hipster saying that was bad-ass, and I want a seventy-two year old Greek Grandmother saying, ‘that was bad-ass’. Is it possible? Of course it is. Just got to find the right story. Which I aim to do.

Numerous times. Mwa ha ha ha ha.

My point is this: If I didn't love Stephen King so much I probably would have dropped that book. I was offended. Not by the ideology, to that i say whatever blows your hair back, but to the method in which it was employed... one-sided, without giving creedance to an opposing viewpoint. Maybe it's the Libra in my first four houses, but a flag goes up when I see that and... I got miffed. And if I did, I bet you a bunch of other readers did too. Unless you're trying to alienate a block of readers, at least be evenhanded. That's my take.

Steve out.

P.S. Despite saying all that, I still must say… UNDER THE DOME was bad-ass.