And, of course, no digression into matters of style is complete without some negative examples:
The Planetary Defense Commander describes a common affliction in science fiction:
Anyway, what I really can’t deal with in this book is a writing style that:
- Treats the reader like he/she has brain damage.
- Breaks the flow of the story.
I’ve been seeing this style from a lot of indie authors lately, but this is the first traditionally-published novel that I remember seeing it in. I’ve mentioned it before in my review of a novel by Evan Currie, and I think it may have been present in the two books I DNFed before this one.
I listened to the novel while driving, so I don’t have quotes, but here’s my impression of the writing style, during a scene where a character is fleeing armed hijackers in a spaceship’s engine room:
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a toolbox. The toolbox would probably have tools inside it. The crew would need tools to maintain the ship’s engines. Without engine maintenance, the engines might stop running, and then the ship wouldn’t be able to reach its destination.
Meanwhile, I’m driving, yelling at my car’s speakers, “STFU! Toolbox! All you had to say was toolbox! I know what a #%*(# toolbox is for! Wasn’t someone chasing you with a gun? STFU!”To which the comments expand further:
I sometimes call it telegraphic description, which I guess is similar to blow-by-blow descriptions, and it’s pretty common in starting or amateur writers: if some character opens a door, this kind of writer will tell you that he placed the hand on the knob, clutched it, and then turned it.
By the way, you are cursed now, you have noticed it and now you will see it everywhere.