Tuesday, 5 May 2009

At that moment . . .

OK, so I didn't think I was going to continue on with a certain icebreaking novel by MR set in Antarctica, but I have. The story eventually sucked me in, although I still cringe every 10 paces (since I'm listening to it as I walk).

Anyway, I've decided that MR has a shortcut key for the phrase 'At that moment'. He uses it in just about every paragraph, frequently accompanied by a superlative-infused repetition - i.e. 'At that moment, at that terrifying, amazing, stunning moment, yada yada yada . . .' It's a pattern I've become hyper-sensitive to.

I could never get away with such writing. My writing group would tear me to shreds. Why are we so hard on each other, when MR is a mega multi-millionaire?

Go figure.


  1. Your writing group may tear you to shreds, but could you even bring yourself to write like that? I think it is about setting standards, and MR obviously has his quite low ;)

  2. Bonus repetition fun: listen out for the phrase 'Schoefield didn't miss a beat'. I read those books back in school, and even then, it really grated with me.

    As for why he's a millionaire (and Dan Brown, for that matter), lots of people don't know about the difference between good, mediocre and excellent writing, and a hefty percentage don't care: they just want to read stuff that entertains them. And there's nothing wrong with that. Books like The DaVinci Code and Ice Station are essentially action flicks in book form, and if people who otherwise wouldn't read pick them up and enjoy themselves, I'm content with that. And even for those of us who do read, there's a certain guilty pleasure in enjoying popcorn filler. It's about the action, not the writing.

    But we tend to be hard on each other because we don't want to write popcorn filler. Also, you know, because everyone likes different things. Mainly, though, even if we might want to earn as much as Reilly or Brown, we wouldn't want to write their kind of stories. Like Hayley said :)

  3. You are both right. I couldn't bring myself. But it does shock me that some people can't pick it. I know heaps of people who LOVE this stuff. And don't get me started on the implausibility of plot . . . MR does such amazing things with a magical substance called liquid nitrogen!

    And yes, I've noticed 'Schofield didn't miss a beat', but not NEARLY as much as 'At that moment'. The other thing that drives me crazy is the over-explaining. All awful. I am never reading/listening to another MR novel again. (I don't actually thing Dan B is quite as bad ... not good though.)

  4. Despite my unlove of Dan Brown (inspired, I'll guiltily admit, by the fact that I liked the DaVinci Code when I was 16-17), I'll probably end up seeing Angels and Demons. Faux-intellectual trashy action movies are so much better than faux-intellectual trashy action books. Also, they pretty much only seel real frozen Coke at the cinema now.