Monday, May 26, 2008

Purpley-orange prose with little green speckles

I'm a fan of overblown rhetoric. I've read every "Valerie", own every Barbara Cartland, and thrill to totally improbable chase scenes, which made me a sucker for the new "Mummy" trailer. It's got Brendan Frasier, it's got the original cast, it's got chase scenes and special effects, and it's got JET LI, as the evil Chinese Emperor-mummy!!!

I was thrilled, jiggling up and down in my seat (at Narnia, which btw, was a wonderful military treatise on the abuse of power and Machiavellian politics)(uhm...it didn't really work on the entertainment level, but it was still good--I kept expecting everyone to break into a rousing rendition of, "My name is Inigo Montoya, you have my accent--prepare to die.")

But I've noticed a trend where the author keeps writing, and I don't mean in a finish-the-wip kind of way, but sentences. To explain. Over and over again--and tell, and end with a sigh. And I recognize it, because--yeah, I used to do it myself. I never realized how annoying it got until after the fortieth time when the heroine would say something like, "...They were older now...and they'd been younger then...and she was ten years wiser. She sighed, her chest moving up and down, her breath trembling through her lips."

I think it's a combination of construction and trust issues. They were older now. (stop! I think I get it)...and they'd been younger then, (Doesn't that necessarily follow??) and she was ten years wiser, (uhm--not wise enough to know when to stop?) I mean--if one is good, isn't three better? How do you know the reader got it?

Trailing off, ellipses and all, imho--is the modern equivalent of Lachrymosa fainting on the settee. Once or twice, it slows the story down so your reader can catch up, but as a style? It's sheer torture.

6 comments:

Unhinged said...

Hah, hah, hah! Tell us how you really feel...because I'm not so sure I understand. I mean, I might...but I don't always get it, you know.

sigh

jodi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jodi said...

Have NO fear. I totally understand, really empathize, and know how you feel. I've been thinking about doing something out there and Joyce-ian, because sometimes people don't get it--or don't understand--and sometimes the message sent isn't the message received.

*my heart is fluttering wildly, over the enormous lump in my throat that made it hard to swallow because it was big*

Deanna said...

I like your to-do list. I feel the pulsing of my heart against the tortured cage of my ribs...over the Mummy (original cast returning, yiphoo!).

jodi said...

oh yeah!!! I can't wait. The trouble is the kid has grown up (although that's an "of course" moment) I love the series! The part where they first meet, and Brendan Frasier looks up in the jail cell and you can see his eyes--wonderful, and the part under the tomb where each group pulls it's guns? (and the guy with the tattoos *sigh*)

Alice Audrey said...

I saw The Mummy for the special effects, and was bowled over by the story. What fun! Can't wait to see the latest.

Um.... sigh?