Mar. 5th, 2007

reenka: (Default)
I'm just curious: does anyone else have the 'too much explaining' or 'information-dump overload' pet-peeve while reading?

Like, you know how popular authors tend to be the ones who make every little fact they introduce totally 'clear' (except it's too clear), and even moreso when it gets into the land of telling-not-showing a character's feelings? Maybe I'm just hating on what's basically a standard third-person narrator; maybe I've become so used to super-narrow limited third-person that regular semi-omniscient third-person just feels like nails on a blackboard.

So okay, a character is introduced, and of course we have to know everything about his background as soon as possible in little asides (how many sisters and brothers, their occupations and personalities, all in nice little sound-bytes). Or the character receives a new 'mysterious object' that he doesn't know the use of, so he just randomly 'decides' to call it something like 'the Key' out of nowhere, wtf (and you can tell this is just another attempt to information-dump 'subtly'). Or because he doesn't want to be seen as a loser 'cause he can't run with his gym class since he has asthma, we the readers obviously need a whole background explanation of exactly what this means about his character and how this reaction came about, and btw, here's what he guesses is the personality types of the other kids around him and the gym-teacher, blah-blah-blah -.-

Just, can I get a little build-up to things naturally unfolding here? Sure, I get that there is a Larger Mystery at hand and -that's- what's getting the build-up (which is why we have all these Clues), but not everything needs to be strategically spoon-fed as a Clue! I feel like I'm being carefully hand-walked down the street and forced to observe all street signs and wait to cross only at the green light when specifically told to by the author, that kind of thing. It's just extremely annoying to me to be constantly 'informed' of things, I dunno :/ It feels very very oddly as if I'm reading nonfiction this way o_0

So like, this is a children's book (by Garth Nix, btw, called 'Mister Monday'), but I don't think it -has- to be this way just 'cause it's a children's book, and besides, lots of 'adult' popular novelists (and popular fanfic writers) write this way too. One of the worst examples is James Patterson and also Piers Anthony and hell, most of the popular fantasy authors (JKR is pretty bad about this too, to say the least). It's not -just- the tell-not-show thing (which is generally about feelings being ideally shown through action, right?), 'cause really it's also reflected in any writing style you can tell is meant to be 'clear'. Except instead of being 'clear', it's beating the reader about the head with clue-by-fours and spoon-feeding every piece of info with carefully measured constant doses, where -everything- that happens very clearly Means A Very Specific Thing.

I feel totally robbed of a lot of the pleasure of reading itself like this; it's like, by over-defining everything to such a degree, they're preventing me from having room within the story to imagine. Without that room, what's the use of reading fantasy lit in the first place? And yet, a lot of times the actual content of these sorts of books is quite imaginative on the surface level, at least, and they're often full of adventure & are addictive to read. Or, they would be if I wasn't constantly being thrown out of the narrative when I notice that once again, I'm being Told Something Important. Meh. -.-

I really wonder if the writer has a long list of Information They Must Import in their heads and/or laptops, and every paragraph is there to meet a quota of needed informativeness and usefulness to the plot. Plotplotplotplotplotplot... *killkilldestroy* :/ The funny thing is really that you can just -tell- how the events/character types themselves are clearly made to be 'fun' and easily understood/identified with, it's just that the writer goes way overboard making the worst sort of Hollywood movie from the fun material till it's just inane.... Yeah, inane is definitely the word; it's that leeching of mystery until every 'weird' event and 'quirky' character seems flat as a pancake.
    I don't know what happened with Garth Nix, btw; 'Sabriel' was super-awesome. *wibbles*

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reenka

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