I was ranting at Jen the other day (what a surprise!) about a real peeve I have with some of the m/m fiction I’ve been reading lately.
Now it could be that I’ve been reading a LOT of m/m recently or it could be associated with the editting (or sometimes lack thereof) of ebooks other bloggers have discussed. Regardless, it annoys me so I’m going to
bitch chat about it. *So there!*
What the hell is Kris whinging about now?? It’s third person omniscient (thanks to English teacher Mumma for telling me what the POV was) is what it is.
It seriously shits me no end when I read a book in which there is a Grand Canyon-sized difference in tone/voice between the way the character talks and the way they think.
Let me ask you this… how is a reader meant to be convinced by a story where a character talks like he comes from a farm in the US somewhere and yet he thinks like a 60-year old academic?? WTF!
I’m not saying a character has to think with an accent or anything, but that kind of juxtaposition is jarring to the extreme and I personally find it really difficult to connect with a story written this way.
Has anyone else noticed or is it a me thing? What do others think about inconsistencies like this? Authors, is it really that hard to keep track of tone/voice?
As always, your input is appreciated.
Ummm, no English major here. Can you give me the name of a book with that type and I'll tell you if it bugged me because off hand the only thing that bugs me is 1st person POV and even then I'm learning to deal with it but don't love it.
*too lazy to look up her virtual bookshelves* It was one of the shorts in the DSP June anthology.
Totally off topic – has anyone checked out Matthew Melmon's blog lately?? Yowzer!!!!
Wow, that's a purty pink package there. That guy must be waxed to within an inch of his life.
I know what you mean. Luckily with TaD Simon was an arty wanker, so he spoke like one and thought like one 😉
I'm with Tam, not an English major, so I'm not sure what specifically is bothering you. Examples please.
And on the off topic, those are some scrumptious looking guys!!!! I love ♥M Melmon's♥ site.
Haven't you guys discovered Queerty yet? News and skin — and lots of both. It's a great site.
Re. the discrepancy between thought and dialogue, no examples come to mind. But I don't think omniscient POV is to blame.
Okay, here are a few examples…
Voice: “Uh, hey, ain’t nothin’ I’d like
more than to keep on touchin’ you, but I gotta tell you that you’re havin’ an effect on me.”
Thought (or tone I guess) I can kind of handle: “With a twinge of disappointment, he recognized the signs of imminent orgasm and deliberately slowed his pace again.”
One that I definitely can't: “Dale disregarded the spurious plea for leniency.”
Tam: Ain't it tho.
Sean: Luckily indeed. 😉
Lily: I ♥ MM, too.
K Z: I agree that the POV isn't necessarily to blame, rather the un/successful use of it.
BTW, thanks for the reference to that site. I hadn't seen it before.
Heh, been waiting for this post :).
It's always a tricky one with naration. I suppose what it all depends on is whether it's the internal dialogue of the character – in which case it should at least sound like how the character speaks. Zero at the Bone is an example of where this was done well.
On the other hand, there is the voice of the narrator in telling us what the character is thinking/feeling in which case it should sound like the author rather than the character.
In the case of this book, I hadn't noticed that jarring between character speech and character thought. I was to busy being disappointed by the stilted dialogue, inconsistent characterisation and god-awful tacked on hea.
There's nothing more frustrating than when something inconsistent throws you out of a story, regardless of what that thing is. For me, it's 'dialect'. Just tell me that the character has a dialect, don't spell the words in strange ways…because what I end up doing is editing them in my brain, and when that happens I've lost the story!
And I think I can see where you are coming from with those examples Kris…
Jen: Good point re: narration. I'll have a rethink as to whether that's what is was as opposed to my initial reaction of it being a discrepancy between voice and thought.
You already know that besides this I had some, umm, issues with the sex scene: “Dale’s dick was so hard it ached, literally throbbing like a cheap porno cliché, but he snubbed it like a fractious mustang.” O_O
Orannia: Yes. It is very hard for a reader to be convinced by or connect with an inconsistent story whether it be problems associated with the plot, setting, characters, POV, language, etc. I think “throws you out of a story” is a really good description of how this makes a reader feel.
As for your subliminal message – too freaking late. Why didn't you say “don't buy any new books BEFORE”. Now I've already spent the money. Sheesh.
I see what you mean, Kris. Yeah, that would be jolting.
The men who frequent my favorite watering hole wouldn't be thinking in terms of “imminent orgasm” (rather, S**t, I need to f***in' shoot NOW!)
And “spurious pleas of leniency”? Hell, they wouldn't even know what that meant! 🙂
KZ: “I” hardly know what that means. (goes to find dictionary.com)
Good example Kris. I can't say I've come across a book/story where I've noticed it so much that it's bothered me. If I was reading something like what you wrote that would drive me batty. I just shouldn't be done, imo.
K Z: Yep. Maybe he was a cowboy/college professor and he used his accent and down home on the range attitude as a shield (for eg in bar situations) against those who sought to tease him about his intellect?? *Damn, I should be a writer. Oh wait… I can't write.*
Tam: Although I got the gist of it from the context, I didn't know what it meant either. Hard to get into pop fic when you don't understand the words.
You're spending $$?? No more cookies for you!
Tracy: I think if the story had been longer it would have been a DNF for me. It was just too jarring.