Author Topic: an apology  (Read 10924 times)

Re: an apology
« Reply #75 on: June 26, 2013, 02:55:00 am »
the thing that is *great* about chandler is that you can read the story on so many levels.

Just enjoy a good detective story. Breeze through it, listen to the wisecracking detectives.

Read a bit deeper. "Stuff a cushion"? You normally stuff a cushion with horsehair, so maybe the character is horselike. They are obviously dominated by their mother who is devoutly religious and would do anything the minister says.

I like a writer who leaves it up to me to build a mental picture of the characters. DB describes *everything* about the characters, forcing you to have his picture. Fine if you like that. Not my cup of tea.

Well I think it's the writer's job to tell ME what the characters are like, not mine to imagine it. I could just imagine the whole thing and not even bother with the book in the first place.

I'm not quite sure how much 'telling you what the characters are like' you think you need.

Fair enough, I'm looking at the text while you were listening to an audio book, but you picked a couple of lines that come at the end of three and a half A4 pages that have been creating a picture of Orfamay Quest, of her mother, of her brother Orrin and of Marlowe himself.

Sure, all the bits of description are mixed up together, allowing the picture to appear bit by bit, Rolf Harris style - can you see what it is yet? - but you've already had a huge number of elements.

Marlowe - detective, hard-bitten, untrusting, likes a drink, cynical about Orfamay, disbelieving of her story, and showing it by cracking cynical joke after cynical joke, yet flirting with Orfamay, calling her a 'cute little trick' and talking about the glasses she wears.

Orfamay - small-town girl trying to be brave in the big city, works for a doctor, deeply distrustful of anything city folk tell her, especially detectives, protective of her brother but afraid of his temper, a bit afraid of her mother, a bit afraid of Marlowe, small, brown hair, glasses, awkward-looking bag that betrays some of her country naivete, worried sick about what might have happened to her brother but not wanting to be told explicitly that he might be dead.

Mother - domineering, religious, very judgmental about anything that doesn't conform to her small-town morality.

Orrin - 28, six foot and skinny, bad-tempered at times, a small-town boy with a good job deciding to try his hand in the city, dominated by his mother until he moved away, used to be reliable at writing home but the letters stopped coming, now gone missing, was living somewhere that seems out of character.

To me, those are pretty good word-pictures of the characters. Not handed to me on a plate, sure, but I can make a pretty good meal out of a succession of tapas, rather than needing an enormous portion on a silver salver - and the smaller mouthfuls are easier to digest.

What's more, pretty much everything I've said about the characters above is given to us explicitly by Chandler - there's no riddle-solving needed.

Quote
I think the "wise crack" as you call it might well be that but if it was it's unrealistic imho. There's no way someone would come out with that to someone they've just met, to both have a pop at her brother's horselike-ness, her mother's  religiousness all wrapped up in an attempt at flirting. I think if you are supposed to read that into it then it's a fantasy novel basically.

But the point is that Marlowe *does* come out with wisecracks like that to someone he's just met. The fact that he does that is part of his character.

I didn't read the horsish-ness into the crack, but having a go at the mother's religious fervour, and flirting, sure - both of these have been set up in the previous dialogue.

Still, if you don't like it, you don't like it. No problem with that: there's plenty of stuff I don't like.

Re: an apology
« Reply #76 on: June 26, 2013, 03:55:13 am »
I've kept reading. Doesn't this just conjure up such an image that you know exactly, exactly what he means?

Quote
You go in through double swing doors. Inside the double doors there is a combination PBX and
information desk at which sits one of those ageless women you see around municipal offices
everywhere in the world. They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no
charm, no style. They don't have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever
quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without any real interest in anything. They
are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #77 on: June 26, 2013, 10:04:00 am »
I've kept reading. Doesn't this just conjure up such an image that you know exactly, exactly what he means?

Quote
You go in through double swing doors. Inside the double doors there is a combination PBX and
information desk at which sits one of those ageless women you see around municipal offices
everywhere in the world. They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no
charm, no style. They don't have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever
quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without any real interest in anything. They
are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.

*

I suppose so but instead of describing what she is like, he is describing what my opinion of her should be if I was the one going in through the double swing doors. He is forcibly bypassing a step, the step of letting me make the judgment about her. Instead, he's telling me the judgment.
He isn't actually describing what she looks like, he is telling me what reaction to have to what she looks like.
I don't know what hair she's got, what she's wearing - I don't know WHY she looks ageless. I just know that that's what my opinion should be.
Why not just tell me what she looks like and let me make my own mind up?
The experience of the character is a two step process: he goes in through double swing doors and sees the woman, and then, forms an opinion of her based on what he sees. The writer of the above passage is forcibly jumping straight to the second step, and completing it for me. I then have to reverse engineer the first step. I'd rather the writer did the first step, but then left the second to me - which might be based on my own prior experiences and prejudices.
In fact based on my prior experiences and prejudices I might not be able to form the opinion that someone (or at least a caucasian woman) is "ageless" - but I'm being told that that's what I am to do. Consequently there is no empathy.

In a sense, therefore, that is guilty of exactly what you've been accusing DB of - not leaving anything to the imagination. Hence, the asterisk...

*(Is that a passage from Dan Brown, or Chandler? I'm assuming it's Chandler but leaving open the possibility that it's actually Dan Brown and you're posting it to make me realise what's wrong with it - if so, you've succeeded.)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: an apology
« Reply #78 on: June 26, 2013, 10:09:01 am »
I've kept reading. Doesn't this just conjure up such an image that you know exactly, exactly what he means?

Quote
You go in through double swing doors. Inside the double doors there is a combination PBX and
information desk at which sits one of those ageless women you see around municipal offices
everywhere in the world. They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no
charm, no style. They don't have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever
quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without any real interest in anything. They
are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.

I was going to respond: "BUT WHAT COLOUR IS HER HAIR?" but Ben T, if you want to parody yourself, that saves me the effort.

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: an apology
« Reply #79 on: June 26, 2013, 10:25:37 am »
This is like the difference between a television play and a radio play. With TV you are passively absorbing the production. But with the radio play you have to fill in the visual side with your imagination, you become more actively involved in it and that is the reward.
I will be looking to read some Chandler books when I've finished the American Assasin and Barring Mechanicals, recommended here.
216km from Marsh Gibbon

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #80 on: June 26, 2013, 10:27:13 am »

I was going to respond: "BUT WHAT COLOUR IS HER HAIR?" but Ben T, if you want to parody yourself, that saves me the effort.

All you achieve by sneering is perpetuating the aggressive pomposity typical of the more fashionable wing of the literati that this thread was set up to cheerlead.
It pleases me that some have engaged in sensible debate about different types of writing, just a shame you're not one of them.

You might do well to remember that in preferring this highbrow convoluted in-depth descriptive style, you're the odd one out - the fact Dan Brown is so rich proves that simple accessible descriptions that anyone no matter what their background, opinions, prejudices, or limitations are can relate to, are what most people would prefer.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: an apology
« Reply #81 on: June 26, 2013, 10:35:37 am »
I tried engaging in this discussion (and the previous one) on sensible terms but you've basically ignored my perfectly serious answers to your questions, hence I suspect you of trolling. Plus I'm bored of it now.

"Aggressive pomposity typical of the more fashionable wing of the literati" is a good line. I might use that myself some time.  :thumbsup:

Re: an apology
« Reply #82 on: June 26, 2013, 11:13:04 am »
Ben, *everyone* whom you are accusing of sneering has said the equivalent of "If DB what you like, fine, just not my cup of tea".

None of us will object to someone making fun on Finnegans Wake or similar literary bricks.

DB doesn't do simple descriptions, btw. He does the opposite. 'accessible' might be a good way to describe them.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #83 on: June 26, 2013, 11:52:38 am »
Ben, *everyone* whom you are accusing of sneering has said the equivalent of "If DB what you like, fine, just not my cup of tea".

None of us will object to someone making fun on Finnegans Wake or similar literary bricks.

DB doesn't do simple descriptions, btw. He does the opposite. 'accessible' might be a good way to describe them.

Right, fair enough. (But for the record I'm only accusing citoyen at the moment of sneering, you and jsabine seem to be communicating your views properly)
But you compared Dan Brown books to "one of those full-suspension things with massive knobbly tyres that cost £40 from Asda"
I would instead compare it to a basic, £300, alloy hybrid with marathon plusses. Nothing spectacular, doesn't really impress the purist, but accessible to the majority of the population. You can just get on it and go to the shops without really thinking about it too much.
I would compare books like Chandler to, say, a penny farthing, or one of those very low recumbents. Looks good - and very satisfying for the one person in 100 that understands how to handle it, but inaccessible - it will either scare people off or they will try it and just give up.

Re: an apology
« Reply #84 on: June 26, 2013, 11:59:07 am »
Only one person in a hundred understands Chandler?

Re: an apology
« Reply #85 on: June 26, 2013, 12:00:16 pm »
Steady on there Ben, you are on very dangerous waters, criticizing pennies.

Can I just point out to you that this thread started out poking fun at DB; you've joined in and complained that people are poking fun at DB. That's a little like hitting yourself on the thumb with a hammer and complaining about it.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
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Re: an apology
« Reply #86 on: June 26, 2013, 12:04:47 pm »
But you compared Dan Brown books to "one of those full-suspension things with massive knobbly tyres that cost £40 from Asda"
I would instead compare it to a basic, £300, alloy hybrid with marathon plusses. Nothing spectacular, doesn't really impress the purist, but accessible to the majority of the population. You can just get on it and go to the shops without really thinking about it too much.
I'd be thinking how slow it was, and how there must be a better option. Of course if there were a better option at the same price ...
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles


Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #88 on: June 26, 2013, 12:17:15 pm »
Steady on there Ben, you are on very dangerous waters, criticizing pennies.

Can I just point out to you that this thread started out poking fun at DB; you've joined in and complained that people are poking fun at DB. That's a little like hitting yourself on the thumb with a hammer and complaining about it.
Fair enough. All I was originally doing was trying to find out exactly why, by example, people do poke fun at Dan Brown, because I was genuinely curious to know as I find it very readable, but since then however I've switched to poking fun at those poking fun at Dan Brown by arguing, probably fairly unsuccessfully, that it's the work of pompous, highbrow "literati".
The explanation of the former did (does) interest me as it seems there does simply exist different descriptive styles, but I'm not sure anyone's explained why they prefer the style of setting out the first-person's intended reaction to a scene (as per 'the ageless woman' quote), rather than simply describing the scene, any further than to simply assert that the latter is "not my cup of tea"; or, indeed, whether I'm even right in my interpretation that describing the opinion to be formed instead of the scene itself is what's going on.

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #89 on: June 26, 2013, 12:21:11 pm »
I'd be thinking how slow it was, and how there must be a better option. Of course if there were a better option at the same price ...

I don't think the analogy stretches that far because books aren't priced according to how good they are. ::-)

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: an apology
« Reply #90 on: June 26, 2013, 12:24:34 pm »
That was kinda my point!

I dont want a book that is heavier and slower than it needs to be, especially if it's not saving me any money.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

red marley

Re: an apology
« Reply #91 on: June 26, 2013, 12:27:30 pm »
[...] but I'm not sure anyone's explained why they prefer the style of setting out the first-person's intended reaction to a scene (as per 'the ageless woman' quote), rather than simply describing the scene, any further than to simply assert that the latter is "not my cup of tea";

I would say because part of the objective is to draw you into the mind or context of the characters involved. In other words to give a picture through their eyes rather than only yours.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: an apology
« Reply #92 on: June 26, 2013, 12:45:19 pm »
the objective is to draw you into the mind or context of the characters involved. In other words to give the a picture through their eyes rather than only yours.

I've recently read Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End. I thought it was utterly brilliant, but it certainly won't be to everyone's taste. The four novels in total run to over a thousand pages, most of it rambling introspection - the last novel is mostly told from the point of view of a mute, paraplegic man lying in bed one summer morning, musing on his brother's complicated love life. There's certainly not much in the way of a plot.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is that one of the things Ford does that I particularly like is to describe a character or scene from one person's perspective and then a few pages later describe the same scene from another person's perspective, and a lot of the details are conflicting and contradictory. You're left to decide for yourself what's the truth, and what are the different motivations and prejudices that lead the characters to see things the particular way they do.

As I say, I like* that kind of thing. YMMV.

*I mean, I actually enjoy reading it. I certainly don't read it to prove how clever or highbrow I am - I already know how clever and highbrow I am and don't feel the need to prove it to other people. I've got some Gillian Flynn and John Grisham on my to-read pile, if anyone cares to judge me.

red marley

Re: an apology
« Reply #93 on: June 26, 2013, 01:08:49 pm »
I too enjoy that kind of thing, although I did fail to get through Parade's End after losing momentum part way though. I am a slow reader, so that's my problem, not FMF's.

Related to the idea of seeing things through others' eyes is that of the unreliable narrator, which I particularly like. A couple of accessible examples spring to mind that I would recommend to anyone who thinks this type of thing is only the preserve of "difficult" literature:

(spoilers lurk within both links below)

A_Confederacy_of_Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #94 on: June 26, 2013, 01:58:40 pm »
the objective is to draw you into the mind or context of the characters involved. In other words to give the a picture through their eyes rather than only yours.

I've recently read Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End. I thought it was utterly brilliant, but it certainly won't be to everyone's taste. The four novels in total run to over a thousand pages, most of it rambling introspection - the last novel mostly takes place from the point of view of a mute, paraplegic man lying in bed one summer morning, musing on his brother's complicated love life. There's certainly not much in the way of a plot.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is that one of the things Ford does that I particularly like is to describe a character or scene from one person's perspective and then a few pages later describe the same scene from another person's perspective, and a lot of the details are conflicting and contradictory. You're left to decide for yourself what's the truth, and what are the different motivations and prejudices that lead the characters to see things the particular way they do.

As I say, I like* that kind of thing. YMMV.

*I mean, I actually enjoy reading it. I certainly don't read it to prove how clever or highbrow I am - I already know how clever and highbrow I am and don't feel the need to prove it to other people. I've got some Gillian Flynn and John Grisham on my to-read pile, if anyone cares to judge me.

Well that sounds quite interesting, and different again to describing it from an example perspective, which is different again from describing simply what is there and inviting the reader to see it from their perspective. All just different ways of describing things. No - one's yet shown the eloquence to describe exactly why the former two are a higher form of fiction, and the latter is a lower form to be ridiculed, but still.

Re: an apology
« Reply #95 on: June 26, 2013, 02:21:29 pm »
the thing that is *great* about chandler is that you can read the story on so many levels.

Just enjoy a good detective story. Breeze through it, listen to the wisecracking detectives.

Read a bit deeper. "Stuff a cushion"? You normally stuff a cushion with horsehair, so maybe the character is horselike. They are obviously dominated by their mother who is devoutly religious and would do anything the minister says.

I like a writer who leaves it up to me to build a mental picture of the characters. DB describes *everything* about the characters, forcing you to have his picture. Fine if you like that. Not my cup of tea.

Well I think it's the writer's job to tell ME what the characters are like, not mine to imagine it. I could just imagine the whole thing and not even bother with the book in the first place.
I think the "wise crack" as you call it might well be that but if it was it's unrealistic imho. There's no way someone would come out with that to someone they've just met, to both have a pop at her brother's horselike-ness, her mother's  religiousness all wrapped up in an attempt at flirting. I think if you are supposed to read that into it then it's a fantasy novel basically.
The writer's job is to write whatever he or she likes. If you don't like it, fine - don't read it. If you want to be spoon-fed, again that's fine - your choice. But what you're doing now is analogous to complaining that a comedian is no good because he didn't explain all his jokes. Can't you see that?

You keep insisting that anyone who dislikes Dan Brown is a pompous literary snob who only likes convoluted styles, despite most of us here beating you over the head with examples of writing we like that doesn't fit your prejudices. Again, can't you see what you're doing, & why Citoyen suspects you of trolling?

I think everybody here has said that they like a variety of styles - except you. You've even tried to claim that you don't like 'style', despite liking one of the most self-consciously stylist writers I've encountered, i.e. Dan Brown. You've also contradicted yourself, saying that you think a recommendation from me is a reason not to read something, & later said that you don't care what I think. Still can't see what you're doing?

And you think that Dan Brown does "simple accessible descriptions". Can't you read? As mattc says, they may be accessible, but they certainly aren't simple. One of my reasons for loathing DB is exactly that his descriptions are NOT simple. Too many bloody words. You contrast his descriptive style with the "highbrow convoluted in-depth descriptive style" of the authors others like, which is standing it on its head. Dan Brown's descriptive style is convoluted & in-depth. A lot of people like that, & are attracted to his writing (& that of many other writers with similar styles) by it - and fine - for them. But to call it 'simple' is nonsensical.

I think I'll read some Terry Pratchett to clear my mind.

Jo: ah, yes - A Confederacy of Dunces.  :thumbsup: Not read the other one - yet.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: an apology
« Reply #96 on: June 26, 2013, 02:23:42 pm »
Well that sounds quite interesting, and different again to describing it from an example perspective, which is different again from describing simply what is there and inviting the reader to see it from their perspective. All just different ways of describing things. No - one's yet shown the eloquence to describe exactly why the former two are a higher form of fiction, and the latter is a lower form to be ridiculed, but still.
But has anyone shown that these descriptive methods are lower forms, to be ridiculed as "highbrow convoluted in-depth" descriptions?
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Euan Uzami

Re: an apology
« Reply #97 on: June 26, 2013, 02:44:45 pm »
The writer's job is to write whatever he or she likes. If you don't like it, fine - don't read it. If you want to be spoon-fed, again that's fine - your choice. But what you're doing now is analogous to complaining that a comedian is no good because he didn't explain all his jokes. Can't you see that?
Not really - I've illustrated why Dan Brown's writing is not simply more verbose than other writing, as you would have me believe. I've explained how it's simply a different style and asked why that's necessarily worse - see my previous post (few posts).

Quote
You keep insisting that anyone who dislikes Dan Brown is a pompous literary snob who only likes convoluted styles, despite most of us here beating you over the head with examples of writing we like that doesn't fit your prejudices. Again, can't you see what you're doing, & why Citoyen suspects you of trolling?
Well the thread started off as, and has been bandwangon-jumped by, a competition to find the most elaborate flowery way of ridiculing Dan Brown's writing and when I asked why it deserves that, and criticized other writing for being cryptic, I was given examples of supposedly "better" fiction, which I was assured wasn't cryptic, I downloaded one, tried it, and came back with an example of why it's cryptic. Given that I've engaged in this way I can't really see how merely liking Dan Brown makes me a 'troll'.

Quote
I think everybody here has said that they like a variety of styles - except you. You've even tried to claim that you don't like 'style', despite liking one of the most self-consciously stylist writers I've encountered, i.e. Dan Brown. You've also contradicted yourself, saying that you think a recommendation from me is a reason not to read something, & later said that you don't care what I think. Still can't see what you're doing?
Well, ok - (a) if Dan Brown is a stylist then why is it a 'lower' form of fiction worthy of ridicule (refer to previous post and if possible answer it), and (b) ok, i take your point, what I mean is I wouldn't dislike something simply because you do, but the mere fact that you do is an indication that I probably won't.

Quote
And you think that Dan Brown does "simple accessible descriptions". Can't you read? As mattc says, they may be accessible, but they certainly aren't simple. One of my reasons for loathing DB is exactly that his descriptions are NOT simple. Too many bloody words. You contrast his descriptive style with the "highbrow convoluted in-depth descriptive style" of the authors others like, which is standing it on its head. Dan Brown's descriptive style is convoluted & in-depth. A lot of people like that, & are attracted to his writing (& that of many other writers with similar styles) by it - and fine - for them. But to call it 'simple' is nonsensical.
It doesn't matter how many words there are, it's not like calories in food (not my analogy, btw) - you don't have to keep an eye on how fat you're getting in relation to how much nutrition you're getting - you can read Dan Brown much faster because you don't have to stop and puzzle over what the deeper meaning on the 'multiple levels' of it are - it flows quickly. If you can read 100 words of Dan Brown's words quicker than you can read 20 of one of your authors then the story flows better. Well I can, anyway. It just makes it more of a page turner, whereas with a lot of books I spend more time flicking back than i do turning pages forward.

her_welshness

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Re: an apology
« Reply #98 on: June 26, 2013, 04:08:18 pm »
At best, Dan Brown's novels are good nonsense. Fair play to him he does his research, has done very well from his books and the tourist industry in what city or place he has written about has benefitted.

Putting on my Librarian hat, I would not recommend his books. They are populist shit. I know and love my library users and steer them to other books that they would infinitely prefer.

One of my colleagues is reading 'Inferno' and he loves it! Mind you, he also thinks 'Fingerprints of the Gods' by Graham Hancock is a work of genius.

Am loving this thread, outstanding contributions!

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: an apology
« Reply #99 on: June 26, 2013, 04:13:36 pm »
Oddly, my reason for starting this thread wasn't really to poke fun at DB, it's been done by plenty, and I'm sure he has enough money to insulate him from being too concerned. I doubt he much fears the barbs of his critics. They'd pretty much have to use an howitzer to get through to him. I suppose we could fling angry reviewers over the battlements of his cash castle with a trebuchet. He'd probably beat them to death with a sack of fresh currency.

I don't have any problem with reading DB. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you enjoy, enjoy. I am determinedly low-brow and as I pointed out, I don't get much out of formal literature. It's all a bit of a labour. I like what I like. I can explain that, but I really don't need to defend it.

I don't have a problem with DB being successful. The Da Vinci Code was a reasonable pacy thriller, one that effectively lassoed the old bloodline of Christ conspiracy and let itself be dragged along. He hitched himself up on a meme that's always fascinated and managed to hold together a novel on the back of it. Hey, novels are hard to write, even the bad ones. Believe me, if you think DB is bad, download a few of the self-published freebies from Amazon and be educated. It's like having your brain taken out back and worked over by thugs. I believe they say that everyone has a novel in them and most of them should be persuaded to leave it in there.

But, I found Inferno to be, and let's not be flowery about this, crap. That's my opinion. I've not been appointed the universal arbiter of such things. Not yet, anyway, I expect the letter is in the post.

Interesting though, the debate on what makes a book good? What makes a story worthwhile? What makes writing good? It is a stylistic choice on many levels. Part of the reason I struggle with some of the more formal literature is that – to my taste – it overlabours without necessarily getting anywhere. It's like driving a Lamborghini around the local NCP. At the other end of the spectrum, there's the Dan Browns, there's a interesting journey involved, but the car's a ten-year-old Renault that splutters like a chain-smoking Frenchman. There are many different writing styles, some work for some people, others don't. Some people like to roll through fields of endless metaphor and simile, other's like the slice of the lean and mean. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm doing it on purpose now.

Without sufficient plot to carry it along, I did find myself focusing on the writing in Inferno and I can only echo some of the criticisms. He does fling descriptions at his characters seemingly in the hope that they'll stick and I often think why, what relevance does it have? Handy character facts ahoy. He may as well tell me that a character has freckles (probably multitudinous amber facemarks). Why? What purpose does that fact have. Lots of people have freckles. Now, in the hands of another writer, perhaps our faithless narrator finds himself caught looking at those freckles, tracing lines between them, plotting new fantastic constellations. See, there's a story in there, we're being told that the narrator is infatuated. It's not just a woman with freckles. Or perhaps she has green eyes and she's looking away, her face dappled with those freckles. And we're thinking of the calm of a forest. We've all been there, shaded and cool, we're being invited to infuse the story with a bit of our own experience. This tells us that perhaps she's distracted, daydreaming, her attention wandering elsewhere, and suddenly we have to ask why, what's the story there? A door has been opened. More is being brought to the surface, ironically by writing less. Again, she's not just a woman with freckles, she's on her way to becoming a character. There's a story growing out of this. You can have at the choice of a character having a long wait or time stretching out for them like a cat on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you've seen a cat take a long, languid stretch, this speaks volumes more.

(I nicked that last line from somewhere, buggered if I can remember where, but I like it…)
!nataS pihsroW