Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stories about storytellers

Is this an out of focus photo of the big pine tree in the background? No. It's a picture of the thin branches in the foreground. Not the best angle perhaps. The eye is drawn to the powerful shape of a mature tree, not the nebulous noodles of sticks.

That's the way I feel about stories in which a character sits down and proceeds to tell a really long story. It's like the author has lost sight of the initial goal and is side tracking me. Look over here!

For some reason I've hit a couple books in a row where that's happened. When I am happily traipsing through a story-world I don't want to stop and listen to a side story unless there is a really good reason for it.

In the book I am reading now, it is the back stories for five people who have come together for a common goal. OK, maybe that's important to move the plot along, but to me that was four chapters wasted. I'll allow the one chapter, because he is a recurring character. And all of this is with the protagonist simply listening. As a fan of the protagonist, I am a little put off.

I want the adventure to keep moving. And I want the protagonist to be the mover. So that's my lesson for today - keep the protagonist in charge.

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