Shocking Twists

I have been reading comments/reviews on books and movies and I have to say that I am very much encouraged.    The reason for that is because people have as many varied reactions and opinions as there are people.  That means that although many people like one thing, just as many or maybe even more like the opposite.

Some people like twists above all else.  They like being shocked by something they didn’t expect to happen, even if it makes no sense to the story.  Then there are other people (like me) who do not like being shocked by an unexpected twist, especially if it doesn’t feel natural.   I would much rather a stable story.  Some might call it boring, but I don’t see this as boring; I see it as making sense.

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Here, I am going to go down a rabbit trail and break one of my own rules and that is about reviewing a book on my blog.  Well, I won’t really review it; I will just mention it because the previous paragraph brought it to mind.  As you all know, Mary Stewart is one of my most favorite authors of all time.  I have been re-reading her books lately, this time to study her way of writing and also to try and determine why she is one of my favorite authors.  I recently finished re-reading “Airs Above the Ground” and I was totally appalled when right in the middle of a chase scene, she takes her sweet time describing page after page of scenery.  I think as much as a whole chapter’s worth.  Talk about boring!  It was so bad, that I almost didn’t even care anymore how the story ended, I just didn’t want to have to read about the scenery anymore.  Of course, I did what I always do (and what I did the first time I read this story, years ago) I skipped the whole thing.  Since I was reading on my Kindle, I had to scroll for a very long time until I finally got past all of the boring part.

So, that brings me to the point of wondering what it is about Mary Stewart’s books that make her one of my most favorite authors.  Yes, no matter how boring parts of her books might be, she remains one of my three favorite authors of all time.  I think the appeal is the travel mixed with suspense, and I can’t say romance, because she is not very good at writing romantic scenes.  Although, I like her heroes and most of the time I like her heroines, too; I think what I like the most is the fact that she takes the reader to places they would most likely never go, even if given the chance.  I mean most tourists go to the normal touristy places, but she takes you to places outside of the beaten path.  All right, when I am in the right mood for it, I do like some of her descriptions of the scenery; however, I think I am more inclined to like reading that at the beginning of the book and not in the middle of the chase scene.

It’s funny, though.   When I first read her books, they were modern contemporary.  Even then, that was the only thing that detracted from them, since I have always preferred historical novels.  Now, however, they are even more interesting to me as a frozen moment in time, the capturing of a time that will never come again.

I must mention that I really, really like how formulaic her books are – English girl goes on vacation, alone or with a girl friend or cousin, and gets herself in the middle of a situation where her life is in danger.    When you read a Mary Stewart book, you know that you won’t be disappointed by some stupid twist that does not make any sense, or by any gratuitous sex scene, since her books are always clean; no swearing, either.  Also, she does suspense very well.   One last thing that I love about Mary Stewart’s books is that she doesn’t have senseless conflict between the characters.  Most, if not all, of the conflict arises outside of the relationships, which is one thing that I love, love, love in a book.   I only wish she had written more books in this theme.  I also like her Merlin series; The Crystal Cave, is the best one of the series.  Ok, rabbit hole exhausted, I will now return to my initial post.

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We were talking about shocking twists.  Also, I really like HEA (happily-ever-afters).  So, a story where something bad happens at the end of the story, to a character that I have grown to love, will always upset me and make me not want to read anything else written by that author again.  I could post a list of those books, but I will refrain from doing so.

As I explained in my previous post – with movies I am more detached, more due to the actors than due to the story itself, as I expect to be let down by them; and so I don’t invest as much of my emotions in a movie, like I do with a book.    That also explains why I am more selective in my reading choices.  Since they are more personal and claim more of me, as I read them.

Getting back to feeling encouraged by the diversity of opinion, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t see eye to eye with the majority of those who comment or review.  It could mean that I am in a very small minority, which I admit is probably the case, or it could mean that those who agree with me don’t frequent the places I have been reading comments and reviews.  Either way, it is encouraging to me that people rarely agree on anything.    Even when they do come to the same conclusion, they get there by varying emotions or routes of deduction.

As an author of alternative fiction, this is very good news.  It means that there are most likely quite a number of people out there who are willing to branch out from the usual fare they are being served.

I read somewhere that most reviews are written by people who either were offended or hated the book or movie for some reason.  In other words, the most vocal are the ones who had a negative response to it.  Most of those who liked it don’t comment or review at all, and the very few who do comment positively, usually loved it.   I wonder if that is accurate or if it is wishful thinking.  It does kind of sound like a sugar pill for authors.  Anyway, since I didn’t say it, I don’t have to worry too much about the veracity of it.  However, I have to admit that I myself am that way.  I rarely comment on something that I liked in a normal way.   If I comment positively, it is usually because I am completely blown away by it.  I have to admit that doesn’t happen to me very often.  The only times that I have felt impelled to write something negative is when I wish to warn others to something that I wish someone had warned me about first.

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