Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Impatient Reader; and Screenwriter

I just wonder if anyone else has this same frustration or if it's a general thing with screenwriters in particular, but the common novel is getting even more frustrating to get through; because there's so much talking and oh those flashbacks! I don't care, just get on with the progressing narrative, please.

Do I have a specific condition or is this natural? I can imagine that now I'm completely aware of it it's going to become an even bigger problem. Or maybe I should simply demote novels and read more screenplays? After all, I don't want to be a novelist.

The problem and frustration came to light recently whilst reading James Herbert's 'Haunted', and although it is rather pacey, sparse-ish on talking and has only three flashbacks, it frustrated me quite a bit. It just wasn't progressing to the beats I wanted it to even though it was pretty fast for a novel.

Or maybe I just simply picked up the wrong thing so soon after the great, symmetrical and exactly thirteen chapters apiece and relatively short stays of The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window. All belonging to 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' and being the first three volumes.

Another series that springs to mind with a lot of dialogue or talking rather in scenes is whenever Harry Potter sits in a room with Dumbledor. That guy can talk, and talk and talk, and then some. For me, those scenes or chapters have always been the most frustrating otherwise the books are great. The last one, possibly untouchable.

One book that I regret putting frustratingly down, and the second ever, by my foolish, amateurish and impatient nature quite a few years back, was The Wizard and The Glass by Stephen King. The Gunslinger, the first volume, quite possibly my favourite book ever. But once into The Wizard and The Glass, it delves into a flashback and I got so frustrated that I skipped some pages, then ten, then twenty and a hundred, and it was still going on. So I skipped another hundred and it was still going on. Then left it. I wanted the progressing narrative to continue. I didn't want the back story stuff. I just wanted the ride!

However, a week or so ago, a friend pointed out that the book is an entire flashback and relevant to later events and books in the series. So I felt stupid, and said, 'Yeah, that makes sense. I'll give it another go.'

I was always going to go back to it someday, I promise, Roland, Gunslinger, Mr. King...

So I think my post has answered itself really and that I should be reading more screenplays than novels, as I'm clearly striving for a ride and experience that's suited to the format and not so much with the novel.

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