I’ve been thinking about the act of storytelling. And how storytelling really is a two-part act. There’s the story itself that you want to share. And then there’s the words upon whose shoulder falls the the burden of doing the actual work of transplanting the reader from his own world into another, one that is peopled by characters and plays out episodes that you dreamt of in your own head. Often, one act supersedes the other, like in the Harry Potter books. And then there are stories that just are perfect—that alchemical balance of an actual good story and of exquisite writing. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, and Juhmpa Lahiri’s The Namesake are two examples of the latter (two stories that I’m alternating between right now).
Then there are books where the writing is so glaringly bad that it jars you right out of the story. No actually it does more—it makes you want to stop reading all together. Maria V. Snyder’s third book in the healer series is what has prompted this chain of thoughts. Having put the e-book on hold as soon as it was released, I started reading as soon as it became available. And came to an abrupt halt with pretty much the first few lines themselves.
Because I don’t remember having any such problems with the first two book in the series I am also wondering how much of my reaction stems from reading Snyder’s writing while in the middle of Stenger’s and Lahiri’s.
Has it happened to you? Did a writer whose books you enjoyed ended up becoming a DNF? (for whatever reason)