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Clean, write, read, repeat 20 February 2010

Posted by The Inimitable M in Life.

What did you do today, Mags?  I have an impressive list of projects efficiently summarised under the subject heading “clean, write, read, repeat.”

It may come as a shock to you that 90% of the Saturday portion of the list now appears under the sub-heading “Sunday”.

I cleaned the coffeepot because it took half an hour to brew half a pot, when it should have taken maybe ten minutes.  This required checking online to validate my use of apple cider vinegar, rather than white vinegar.  Of course, I had to check more than one source to be sure.  All good researchers verify their sources.  The less cocky among us worry, anyway.  It worked, so there you go.

What else did you clean today?  Nada.

I wrote an email to my SO outlining the linear feet of bookshelves we’ll need for my current collection.  (The calculations went to three digits.  I am not surprised, are you?)  I updated my work list for next week.  I wrote a few status updates on Facebook and MySpace.  After I finish this blog, my writing for the day is done.

I read 100 pages of The Judas Strain.  I need to rant about a couple of things before I write the book review next week.

1.  The overuse of passive voice in narrative passages is appalling in this book.  My irritation came to a head when I hit the sentence, “A moment ago, as the helicopter had dove toward him, drawn like a hawk to a mouse, Monk had eyed the gunman in the open hatchway.”

Had dove???

Had eyed???

A screaming rant shot forth directed at both Rollins and his editor that easily woke the dead in the cemetery a mile south of here, even through closed windows.

This occurred on Page 85, but I believe I have sufficiently expressed my outrage and can read the remaining 350 or so pages with minimal muttering.

2.  Sentence fragments abound.  I started counting the lack of subject or predicate and threw up my hands when I reached more than 100 instances.  In dialogue, this is acceptable, depending on the character, because people think and speak in fragments all the time.  This is not acceptable in the narrative to the extent Rollins uses them.  I teetered with this criticism for a moment or two until I went to the back of the book to his Author’s Notes.  I shook my head.  I’d like to know where his editor was taking her nap when she should have been editing this manuscript.  I’d also like to know the pub floor where his two agents are sprawled to this day allowing it out of their hands in this shape.

Of course, I could be moaning early.  Perhaps these problems are rectified in the remaining 2/3 of the book.

I am not a snob.  I seek readable material.  I like the story.  The plot is interesting, even though it is a mash of traditions and speculation that crosses time frames in an arguably inaccurate fashion, philosophically speaking.  I do realise this is fiction, and he makes no bones about his disengagement from the true chronology of most of that philosophical history in his various disclaimers.  Still, I really have to say, “Dan Brown, make room at your table for James Rollins.  I believe you know each other.”

I will continue to read The Judas Strain tonight.  My goal was to finish it by tomorrow night in order to write a less emotional review on Monday.  Maybe I’ll clean and write tomorrow, too.



1. James McShane - 20 February 2010


theinimitablem1 - 20 February 2010

That means….?

2. Origami Tsunami - 21 February 2010

eeeep! Good luck with the book!! (that would make me crazy!)

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