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Old 24th February 2008, 08:27 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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Originally Posted by Barney View Post
In my opinion this is telling. It would be showing if this information was presented from the POV of someone embedded in the scene.
As it is, it reads like an omniscient narrator summarising what is happening in 2 different locations.
Yes, agreed.
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Old 24th February 2008, 11:21 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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So if another author came along using a similar style, pulling it off with equal wit and flair, and that style (as it is in Jonathan Strange) obviously being the right vehicle to carry that particular plot ... do you think agents and editors would read it and think, "This author is the next Susanna Clarke, and I must have this book" -- or is there only a very small niche for that sort of thing, and Clarke entirely fills it up?
Another book I think would appeal to many of Susanna's readers is THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS by G W Dahlquist. Very different in style, but with similar invention and intelligence.
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Old 24th February 2008, 06:20 PM   #63 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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Another book I think would appeal to many of Susanna's readers is THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS by G W Dahlquist. Very different in style, but with similar invention and intelligence.
Actually, I hated that book.
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Old 24th February 2008, 07:09 PM   #64 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

There you go, subjectivity at work!!!
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Old 24th February 2008, 07:40 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

This illustrates perfectly what I've said about there being no absolute templates for a book that will sell to a publisher. We can discuss certain things to do and not do do, which will give your book the best possible chance, but everyone working as an editor reacts to a book personally as well as professionally, and those reactions have to be perfectly in sync for the editor even to consider talking to their colleagues about a project from a new writer.
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Old 24th February 2008, 08:13 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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This illustrates perfectly what I've said about there being no absolute templates for a book that will sell to a publisher. We can discuss certain things to do and not do do, which will give your book the best possible chance, but everyone working as an editor reacts to a book personally as well as professionally, and those reactions have to be perfectly in sync for the editor even to consider talking to their colleagues about a project from a new writer.
Exactly.

But I don't think that Teresa was talking only from a subjective point of view, besides her "I hated that book".

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL and THE GLASS BOOKS OF DREAM EATERS, in my opinion, won't appeal to the same category of readers.

Subjectivity apart, if we analyse the second, we find that it is not a pastiche of Victorian novels.

In THE GLASS BOOKS, the Victorian setting is a series of theatre curtains, a background to a "locale adventure" set in an alternate London, while JONATHAN STRANGE is permeated with the culture of the time. One would think that Susanna Clarke has bathed in Austen's and other authors' work and atmosphere for years, but we could take The GLASS's characters and place them in another period-- with a few changes--and the story would work perfectly. Moreover, G W Dahlquist does nothing to write in Victorian style, or, if he does, he hasn't researched enough.

Readers who loved Clarke's style will probably find themselves annoyed at Dahlquist's (like Teresa), and vice-versa. I am not saying that it is a bad style; just that it is very different.

And JONATHAN STRANGE is a…strange novel with more than a tinge of eeriness and horror, enhanced by the distance the narrator displays, while in THE GLASS horror is more linked to the evil human behaviour of powerfully represented villains, but, well, just villains.

Talking of structure, JONATHAN starts slowly (I almost gave up reading it), but captures the reader in an insidious way, while THE GLASS begins with a quick pace, as adventure novels do. Well, I can't comment about the ending of THE GLASS because I am not there yet.

These are the reasons why I don't think that these two books have the same market.

Going back to subjectivity, one could deduce from the above that I don't like G W Dahlquist's novel, but that is not true. I have nothing against a good adventure story, and THE GLASS BOOKS OF DREAM EATERS is a very good adventure story. I am enjoying it.

Is there a contradiction here? I am one very eclectic reader (like many Chrons); but I am not the market (we are not the market).

And this also means that I could be wrong in my "rational" analysis of the market…

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Old 24th February 2008, 08:14 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

Chacun a son gout...
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Old 24th February 2008, 08:41 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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Chacun a son gout...
Because I am thicker than a Douglas Fir 4" by 2",what does that mean John?
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Old 24th February 2008, 09:17 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

To each their own...or everyone has their own likes and dislikes, which are absolutely right for them personally.
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Old 24th February 2008, 09:24 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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In THE GLASS BOOKS, the Victorian setting is a series of theatre curtains, a background to a "locale adventure" set in an alternate London, while JONATHAN STRANGE is permeated with the culture of the time. One would think that Susanna Clarke has bathed in Austen's and other authors' work and atmosphere for years, but we could take The GLASS's characters and place them in another period-- with a few changes--and the story would work perfectly. Moreover, G W Dahlquist does nothing to write in Victorian style, or, if he does, he hasn't researched enough.
You have come very close to describing one of my principle reasons for disliking the book. The narrative style (which is amusing, and very well done -- except when it slips) suggests a Comedy of Manners, after the fashion of, say, Thomas Love Peacock. But the author hasn't created a sufficiently detailed or consistent setting for a CoM to inhabit, nor (as you point out) has he done enough research to understand how a mannered society really works. Aspects of the plot suggested a novel of gothic horror in the Victorian mode (and the book was promoted as such, at least in some quarters), but as I read I kept coming across scenes where I thought, "LeFanu or Gaskell or Benson would have had me shivering by now, but here I'm just bored and annoyed." Where Jonathan Strange blends style and plot and setting seamlessly, Glassbooks tries to be too many different things at once and never quite hits the mark with any of them. Every reason I had for loving the one book was a reason for disappointment in the other.

But I rarely make recommendations of the "If you like _____, you will probably like _____" sort. I've found that even people who tend to like the same books often like them for vastly different reasons.

I do realize, however, that agents and editors have to make just that sort of comparison in deciding which books to represent/publish.
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Old 24th February 2008, 10:03 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

Going back to the topic of this thread, I haven't seen a commandment concerning the passive voice.

So, I'd like to ask John:

Is the passive voice less common (in typescripts) than it used to be, as an effect of the general hammering against it?
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Old 25th February 2008, 10:10 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

Just thought I'd let you guys know I'm finding this thread very useful.

It's making me take a lot more of an objective look at my work, helping me to spot weak bits, info dumps, excessive descriptions and think about how I could better maintain the flow of my story.

Can be quite depressing at times too when you see what you've done, but I'll get through it...
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Old 25th February 2008, 04:05 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

Two and half thousand words later ... is this showing or telling?

Quote:
[110101]


The sun was rising from the east, when Gordon sat back in his chair, comparing sketch artist drawing to the photo that he had taken out from his pocket. The homeless man had spilled out his story in late hours. For a long time he had hold back on Gordon techniques, but at the end, he was too tired to hold back his story for nothing. The man in the photo was “a relic hunter.” The homeless man also revealed that, “the hunter had bit of dust off with one local gangs in the bar, and when the play turned a notch harder. He dusted one of the punks, with the thing the hunter had brought from the wasteland. In the chaos that followed, the hunter lurked out with his tail between his legs to meet up with a mercenary.” At the outside, he had “mugged” the homeless man and when he had complained, the dusting man “reached in his pockets and threw me few coins from his trip to wasteland.”

‘His story is as truthful as it can get’ Gordon thought. He guessed that the homeless man story was most probably a collection of the stories, that he had heard from the other people. It was enough for Gordon to start a search in the Royal Scotland Yard database, narrowing down on all the relic-hunter licenses that they had approved in the last ten years, 'If I can find one the correlates with the photo, then that will eat Jones revelation. If not, then that will prove Jones is right about the nature of the man, and then I really have focus my search on the Don Cy Harmonic and their relationship to the dusting man...'

[110110]
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Old 25th February 2008, 10:36 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

Would moderators delete this and above post, please (as I want to move into the critiques where it belongs).
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Old 26th February 2008, 05:33 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Re: The "Ten Commandments according to John"

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Can be quite depressing at times too when you see what you've done, but I'll get through it...
That's the attitude! Because you really can do it, if you're willing to learn and improve
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