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  1. #1
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    Ian McEwan's Atonement

    So, yeah, this book has been out for a handful of years now and I'm just getting around to reading it. Not that I haven't wanted to, because I have heard so many good things about it, and the movie looked pretty interesting. Saw part of it on my DVR and never got around to seeing the rest before it "accidentally" got deleted. Anyway . . . I have always read that it's not wise, as a writer, to prattle on needlessly before getting to the "crux" of the story. The part that REALLY sets things in motion. And I know in this book, based on what I saw of the movie, that something bad is going to happen that sends the three main characters of the book -- Robbie, Cecilia, and Briony (what in the world kind of name is Briony?) -- on long, hard, and separate journeys. But I am on page 80 of the paperback and it ain't happened yet. All I've gotten so far is a detailed description of the Tallis estate, some stupid vase that a deceased relative received for some war effort, a mom with chronic migraines who seems as uninvolved as she can be in her family's lives, a cleaning lady's kids with a crush on the older daughter and a daughter who -- well, you get my point.

    How did this book get such rave reviews??? Or do I just need to be patient and shut up?



  2. #2
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    I have not read Atonement so can't comment on that. However, in writing, as in life, things are rarely fair. I think two things are true however:

    One. Most have to write a perfect, flawless first book and then, once a household name, you can publish your shopping list and it will be a bestseller.

    Two. If you find a niche market and have clever PR, your first offering can be badly written but still appeal to the masses and people's "Guilty Pleasure". Think "Twilight" and "Fifty Shades of Grey".

    JMHO

  3. #3
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    Twilight. Gah! I'm trying to find the longest spoon in my utensil drawer so I can gag myself with it. I haven't read any of those, nor do I plan to do so. Though I would give good, good money (if I had it) to go back in time and stop Stephenie Meyer from writing the series. Read the first book in the Hunger Games series, mainly because someone said it was a good example of first person present narration. Haven't seen the movie, probably will just wait til it comes out on DVD. Fifty Shades of Grey? Not my speed.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    I'm really tired of everyone using Stephenie Meyer as their whipping post. She wrote books that fulfilled a great need for a young generation. Were they well-written? Not always. Did the story reach it's intended audience and were the books well-received? Absolutely!

    So, to have such arrogance as to say that you would stop her from writing them? Why? Were sales dismal? Did the movies bomb at the box office? Just because you don't like them, doesn't mean that they weren't loved by thousands, and maybe even millions, of others.

    You can only dream of being such a successful writer. And as long as you put down other successful writers, you will never be one, yourself.

  5. #5
    Member Kid's Avatar
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    Also, think of the number of non-readers Stephie lured into the world of written stories. Odds are good those readers will explore other authors. Maybe even future new comers...like me (if I'm ever so lucky).

    Lower the nostrils. Boogers are gross.

  6. #6
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    Just to add my 2 cents on the Huger Games, I read the books and was quite UNIMPRESSED. In fact, I thought the movie was a lot better. The thing with Ms. Collins is that her writing is too tight and unadorned. There's no poetry. It's rush, rush, RUSH. Yes, the pacing is great for the action it's telling, but I'm still quite dumbfounded as to its success. Maybe I answered my own question as I ploughed through the entire trilogy in less than a month (on top of my work, social life, etc.). And she is good with cliffhangers in every chapter (though forced at times). Anyways, I don' have a point but I just wanted to vent ;-P

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    I guess I have a different definition of "success" as a writer. A big part of how I view writing success entails what I write and how I write it. In those two areas, I view Meyer as an abject failure. But as far as money and fame, no doubt about it, she's an overwhelming success.

  8. #8
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    Thank you!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    But John, you need to consider how Meyer views writing success entailing what she writes and how she writes it - is she happy with it - and the answer is "yes," as I saw her explain in an interview once. You can't define her success by your definitions for your writing. Heck, even my writing and how I write it probably wouldn't make you happy either. What makes Meyer a success is how well her books sold and how well loved they were by her readers. In that area - she is also a huge success. Besides, how can you put down any writer who gets young people to read?

    It all comes down to the fact that there are enough different writers, of enough different genres, to satisfy the reading needs of almost everyone on the planet. And we should all be happy about that. But for Jennifer to say that she is an important enough person in the history of the Twilight series to think that SHE has the right to prevent Stephanie Meyers from writing her books! Who the He!! is she to decide that? Besides, I think it shows a glaring lack of imagination if people who like vampire stories, can't find something to enjoy in the series. Heck, even the writer of "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" by Thomas Hardy was vilified in his day. Now it's a classic.

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    I believe there are objective standards by which to judge whether writing is good or not. If there are not, if the best gauge of quality in writing is whether the author likes it, then why do we critique writing? Why would you, for example, offer corrections in logic or punctuation if the author's opinion trumps any critique? The reason we offer critique is because you know as well as I that there are standards writing must meet in order to be considered "good". Of course, standards in writing do not dictate standards in taste. Throughout history, people flock to garbage like a dog to vomit, but just because something is popular and loved does not mean it is good or of high quality, and Meyer's writing bears out that truth. It is awful writing by just about any measure. Have you read Stephen King's take on her writing?

    I stand by my assessment. She is a resounding financial success, but a horrible failure as a writer. And it is not a matter of jealousy; I think Stephen King is a resounding financial success, but also an outstanding writer. If money and popularity are your key indicators of success in any arena...well, all I can say is there's a great deal to pity in that viewpoint.

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