writing devices and Kathleen McGowan

I read a review of the book The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan on a blog a few months ago. I think it might have been Nancy's but I'm not sure. In any case, it took a while for me to get it at the library so I just started reading it 3 weeks ago. It sucks! At least so far. I'm only 83 pages into it and I've already had to take two breaks from it and read other books to clear my mental palate.

This isn't a review of the book The Expected One. I'll wait until I finish it. What I'm going to discuss here is a writing device or two. For an inexperienced author or a bad one--and I'm in both those categories--the easiest way to get a plot that moves along and doesn't bog down is to do a variation on a Scavenger Hunt. You have your protagonist in danger and he or she finds a clue that forces a change in location, followed by more clues and more travel. Of course this isn't really a plot--but it seems like one while you're reading and it's quite easy to implement. This format can be done well as in The Celestine Prophecy or poorly like in The Da Vinci Code. From what I've seen so far, McGowan follows this format also. But I suspect she's in the not well implemented camp.

Another device that McGowan doesn't use well is using dialog to inform the reader of needed information. Typically this is done by having the protagonist consult experts so we, the reader, can overhear, so to speak, what the expert has to say. Unfortunately in this book the protagonist is the expert so every time she needs to get background info from others the reader has to wonder why the Hell Maureen (the protagonist) doesn't already know the answer. It's actually funny at times--Maureen, supposedly one of the world's experts on Mary Magdalene and a best selling author of a nonfiction book about Magdalene, keeps asking basic questions about Magdalene and doesn't seem to know any background on Magdalene despite writing the book and having conducted 20 years of reseach for the book. Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves? LOL

Ehhh. I'm going to go to bed but I might vent my spleen more on this tomorrow. Sorry folks!

Brief Politics Discussion: Rumsfeld is finally gone! *whew* That guy is such a dick! Now if only Cheney would go away too. Looking forward a year to when the next presidential race will heat up, who thinks that Schwarzenegger is going to come up with some heretofore hidden documents that prove that he was actually born in the United States? Stranger things have happened! LOL "I'll be back!"

Comments

srp said…
Oh the books that reviewers say are wonderful; yet turn out to be duds.... Number one reason for having a library card. ;)
David said…
where does that expreession come from "vent my spleen"? curious - like michele
srp said…
Is venting ones spleen anything like placing a drain after surgery?

Here from Michele, this time.
David said…
rumsfeld who? we never had a guy named rumsfeld, you must be mistaken.
Michele said…
Stopping by to say hello....

Political talk: Who is Rumsfeld? Just teasing. Actually, I am not even American and I am happy that he is "finally gone."

Book talk: Yes, I agree it would be quite irritating for a character to be a supposed expert and yet have to ask basic questions. I am surprised that the author did not have the protagonist share her knowledge with a minor character, which would prove she is the expert and allow the reader to have the background information the author wishes ot share.

Why have I not heard of "The Expected One"? Of course you do not have an answer for this, but, you have answered the question, should I be grateful for being unaware of "The Expected One"?
srp said…
Here from Michele, this time.
It seems as if the last few books from the library have been much like this one. I rate books in a similar manner as movies.... how much do I skip (fast forward). Same reasoning for not going to movies and spending the excessive admission.... wait for the video.... when you pay ten bucks for a movie and hate it after twenty minutes, you feel obliged to stay to the bitter end. However, if you rent a movie for three bucks and hate it, you can fast forward and pick random spots to view.

What books have been up to your obviously high standards recently? No technical books please.
Theo said…
thanks for your ideas.

here from Michele's!
sassyassy said…
well, it does not sound like I will be adding The Expected One to my reading list, but The Celestine Prophesy will be.

my pet peeve about books,in addition to the ones you have pointed it, is when the author runs out of steam. I hate having a book that is a real page turner and I get to the last few chapters and bam! No ends are tied, no rational conclusion made. Just let down. Like the author just forgot what he/she was trying to accomplish or lost interest.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse is my most recent read that did this to me. I was doing book on tape, so maybe (I am hoping this is the case)I missed something. I am going to read the book and see if it leads me to a more satisfying conclusion.

don't get me started on abridgements (boo hiss--don't waste my time with a hacked up plot).

Happy weekend to you Utenzi.

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