The Spirograph Syndrome
I’ve read a lot of books since last fall. A lot of Indie books in the mix. Now, if a book is shit that’s it. But what about books that have no more clams than an expensive publishing house. Spelling, sentence structure, logical telling of a story (whether it’s to your taste or not) are all there. The author, mechanically, has a grip on things. It’s in the telling of telling of telling of… of… of…
A picture is worth a thousand words
What we’re looking at is constant reiteration of a character’s traits. We are told who/what Betty is, dive back into some character action, emerge and repeat. Betty can be a spoiled rich kid alcoholic, or the most bad-ass behind the scenes of world events Bad-Ass ever with borderline Vulcan Mind Meld powers or the Sensitive, Curious Rote Trained “I Wanna be Me” Warrior or (another) sleuthing Librarian who took Self Defense Classes… The commonality in all those books (some I only cleared chapter one) is they all have Spirograph Syndrome.
I was reminded at every turn, often no further than a page apart, sometimes several times a page who the protagonist was – how hard they worked out, how hard they drank, how handsome/attractive, how they possessed self defense moves, how agonizingly frustrated and angry, how dark and possibly evil they were.
The whole coming back to the reiterative descriptions process reminds of how in pop songs there’s a tendency to beat the shit out of the chorus, particularly if it’s the main hook and there’s not much going on in the verses. But in a book? Get to the fucking story, before 57% of the book is in the rearview and Betty is a drunk/hunk/bad ass/ex TV star/possibly gay loose cannon CIA hit woman/ex boxer private eye/who killed my hubby widow till I puke.
Aside – I mean, are there verses to Born in the USA? Message in a Bottle? Hey Jude? Layla? 90% of the Stones catalog? Feel free to add your own. BUT NOT IN A BOOK!
Speaking of Betty, I’m sure there are lyrics here besides the Hook/Title but the whole story is Betty Got A… Got A… Got A… And that’s all I remembered, thinking what a killer hook.