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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do I Hear an Echo?

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, whenever I find a book I really enjoy, that is part of a series, I like to go back and read all of that series in order. This means I sometimes read several books in the series back to back. I also have one of those strange memories that holds on to things like song lyrics, movie dialog, and passages of text.

One downside of this combination is noticing, and being bothered by, inconsistencies from one book to another. I always feel compelled to go back and check whether Great-Auntie’s name was really Mildred in book two but became Matilda in book five.

Recently I got caught up by something different. I was reading a series book and realized the author had used the same exact descriptions as in the previous book. Complete sentences or even short paragraphs were copied directly from one book to the next to describe a person, business, location, etc. I’m not sure why that bothered me but every time I came across one of those repeats it took me out of the story, just for a second.

Now I’m wondering…is this just me? Every series will have some of the same characters and locations from book to book so the descriptions of those characters and locations are going to be the same. But how much the same? Does an author have to find new ways to describe the same things in the latest story or is it perfectly acceptable to lift the descriptions from the last one.

What do you think?

Positive item for today: Brandi still has her eye. Not out of danger yet but every day that passes increases the chances we can save it.

Another positive: Very Quick Nine Year Old – my football player from a few posts ago - who was missing his season with a broken finger is back in the game. He was able to play both offense and defense today.

Unwriting progress: From the original 150,000 words down to 113,133. (Too much time spent in non-positive places this week.)

I'm currently enjoying: Just finished The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen  (What shall I read next?  My TBR pile is calling.) 

Quote of the day: It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words. - Eric Hoffer


Mason Canyon said...

I guess I can see where using the same descriptions could help tie books together, but I'm not sure if that would help or hurt the books for me. One to think on. I have read a series where a character's name and occupation changed from book one to book two (but stayed the same from there on).

Glad to hear Brandi still has her eye. Hopefully she will continue to improve.

Thoughts in Progress

Anonymous said...

Blessings of healing be showered upon Brandi and that nine year old sounds like one tough kids.

My book is part of a trilogy and each book is made to stand alone. I don't think it necessary to repeat info from the settings from a previous book. Why be redundant?

Stephen Tremp

Dru said...

Sometimes I notice the same line, sometimes I don't. They author may just tying things together.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Mason - The only name changes I've run into looked accidental. I think I was caught by the repeats in this series because the descriptive lines were clever and stayed with me. But does that make it good or bad? Not sure.

Thanks for the good wishes for Brandi.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Stephen - Thank you for Brandi and yes, the nine year old is a little pistol.

I agree on the redundant, although I imagine you need to set the stage to some degree in each book. Something I haven't had to do yet.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I don't see anything wrong with copying a description from one book to another. At least the write is being consistent. Plus, my memory isn't as good as yours and I wouldn't notice. Really.

I love Tess Gerritsen's books. I've read most of them (I haven't been able to find all of her older romance, but the ones I did find I enjoyed, also). Another good writer - Meg Gardiner (I went to high school with her, so maybe I'm a little prejudiced), but Stephen King likes her, too (and she write suspense thrillers - not horror). Here first Evan Delany book is "China Lake" and her first Jo Beckett book is "Dirty Secrets Club". You can't go wrong with either!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Dru - as I told Mason, it may have been the particular lines that caught my attention but in a couple instances the author lifted whole paragraghs. Messed with my head. Might just be me.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Stacy - yeah, I think my memory for certain types of detail works against me sometimes.

I've just read the one Tess Gerritsen (The Surgeon) but will definitely be going back for more. Thanks for the other recommendations.

Maria Zannini said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for Brandi.

Ref: description

I agree with some of the others. I don't mind seeing the same short description within a series. It helps tie the books together.

A lot of authors have used that device from way back.

I wish I had Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series in front of me. Every time Burroughs described John Carter it was always the same.

It was laughable to say the least, but I think I would miss that quirky little description if it was never put in subsequent books. It was a cute reminder of what you were reading.

It defined the series.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Maria - Thanks for commenting. I always find it interesting what catches other readers (and writers); what turns people off and what they enjoy.