Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't Mock the Karak..


Pronunciation / kän-trə-ˈdik-shən/, n.

The overwhelming sense that I've been robbed, betrayed or violated on some pathological level - and yet I feel thankful, grateful even, to the offender.

This sort of thing usually begins with me minding my own business, innocently going thru my surfing rituals. A name, more like a title carrying a badge of prestige, catches my eye. First instinct, ignore it, just let it go. That might work for a minute or two.. an hour even. The whining and pleading gets louder until I find myself pushed to the brink of insanity. Curiosity has me completely and utterly wrapped around its thumb and finally I turn to my saviour, the prince of searches, Google.

This time around 'professional curiosity' had me putting No Time for Goodbye under the 'scope. The article had described it as a truely masterful work of art that held the reigns to numerous bestseller lists. I had no choice but to hunt it down and get a look. I was happy to find it was part of amazon's Search Inside program which allows eager folks the chance to gaze upon just enough greatness to whet their appetites.

What I saw that day, bedazzled me. The most simplistic style and words employed for the task of telling the alleged bestselling tale. The words spoke out to me as if imploring me to relieve them of a burdenous secret. Lucky for me I didnt have to wait long. Mother happened to be going to the bookstore to hunt down some literary works she'd been craving so she offered to pick up that book for me while there.

The day I intended to start reading it turned out to be the same day mother took the liberty to promise that I, yes ME not her, would take the kids all out to the zoo and a place called Discovery Center in shj. All day affair in other words. It was fun, but it meant that I only got to read a few pages of the book. I got to finish the prelude. It was good. Strong start, but it left me with this nagging feeling. He had innovated. It was only the prelude and yet there was his gleaming creativity. I imagined the feelings running thru my veins were the same Christian Bale's character in American Psycho felt in the business card scene. It was ruffling to say the least. Abandoning the beguiling piece, I spent some quality time catching up with past episodes of Life. It wasnt until last night when I went to go work on my own prelude that I picked up NTFG again. I brought it to learn and learn I shall!

By 2am I was peeved. The book was like a slap to the face. This guy, Mr. Barclay, he was breaking every single rule in Novel Writing 101. From grammar to sentence structure, and if that wasnt enough his characters were urkingly weak. I wont even go into the details of his male characters suffering from a serious lack of testosterone on top of being chronically stupid. At that point I would have gone on to bed but realized I had gotten halfway thru the book and had only just really started it that night. (I'm usually a really slow reader so that was a big thing for me) I decided to stay on and see how far I could get.

I watched the digits on my clock change from 3:59 to 4:00 am. I wasnt 'peeved' anymore, no. I was freakin DISGUSTED and pissed out of my mind. I was about 50 pages short of finishing the 400+ paged book and the only thought pleading an answer in my mind was "How in bloody hell had that book scored 'Bestseller'?" I had to break then and there, book in hand, to have a look online and see who exactly authorized that right. I mean my God, I'm not above reading crap, especially if I know in the beginnning that the author was aiming for crap cuz then at least its entertaining. This though. "Oh Boy." To quote my grandpa's famous words of astonishment. It was an eye opener. I couldnt help but think it was a guy thing. I mean till I realized I've read some pretty great stuff written by guys before [Ludlum, Grisham, Crichton - and even though I've outgrown Pike and Stine they still had pretty good literary contributions]. Ok, so not a guy thing, just a Barclay thing. I could barely turn the pages anymore. In the end I just prayed and slept. I didnt wake up till well after 12. I finished the remainder of the book and just stared at it. Somewhere between the disdain and regret I was feeling for the book I had just pulled an all nighter for I felt this light of shining truth. I mean the most obvious of all facts was that if ppl's standards were so low as to celebrate such an affront to modern literature then hey they were gullible enough to accept any sheemot rubbed between two covers.

As much as I can complain about the book and how much of a disappointment it was, I have to concede that I learnt some pretty important things from it. I think the most important of which was plot structure. I mean I guess that was always important but I always find I get a little lazy by the end of whatever I am writing. Sometimes I give it a hasty ending or go with the first few hundred things that come to mind instead of waiting for a better plot element to come along. [Lesson one from Barclay: Stong plot/concept and see it through to the end.] I'm pretty sure I did it with POA. That was the reason I still havent re-read it in its entirety. Solely for fear of finding plot holes or weak elements. I'm going to re-read it though, soon, and I'm not going to be ashamed of what I find either. [Lesson two from Barclay: Baby steps. Take it slow and easy, no need to rush.] Cover each bit meticulously, air tight sealing as far as elements and grammar is concerned. I do that most times but now I'll triple and quadruple check till my piece is of sacred grade. [Lesson three from Barclay: ....hmm, there was a third lesson.. I smell mac and cheese, intoxicating carbs. Maybe I'll remember the third later and edit it in or something..]

I need coffee! A caramel spiked French Vanilla latte...::sighs:: mother has become so enamored with Lipton's Chai-latte that she forgot to buy real coffee.. ::more sighs::

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