Clever for clever’s sake.

Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I’ve ever met… see I have this thing: everything on a plane is single-serving…
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it’s very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How’s that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then… Right up.
[Gets up from airplane seat]
Tyler Durden: Now a question of etiquette; as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch…?

– From Fight Club, based on the fantastic novel by Chuck Palahniuk (mad props to David Fincher for making it one hell of a film)

So, in my quest to read about a topic near and dear to me – the Fates – I decided to download Fated by S.G. Browne.  This was also one of the rare occasions I decided to shell out full price for a Kindle book, $12.99 (I feel an adequate price would have been close to $3.99).  As I consider the purchase ‘research’ for the Fates I and II (still no official titles) I was willing to part with the funds.

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I just don’t like my books so obvious.

Unfortunately, I just thought everything was too…obvious.  I give points for being creative (or Creative, since y’know, every single trait or concept is actually an immortal wandering around), but the execution of all the concepts gets a bit trying.  Given my treatment of fictional immortals is FAR different than Mr. Browne’s, I might be too hard on this book and then I think, no.  Just because I’m taking a more serious approach to the topic and Mr. Browne is veering towards comedy, I think I’m still entitled to my opinion.  While every author is entitled to stylistic choices, please don’t get me started on the reliance on the line ‘the thing about IMMORTAL CONCEPT is…’  Furthermore, naming Fate ‘Fabio,’ God ‘Jerry,’ Jesus ‘Josh’ and Death ‘Dennis’ is more obnoxious than it is clever.  And while I didn’t expect the ending, I didn’t think it was the right payoff for the protagonist.

The ‘clever for clever’s sake’ also came into my life in the form of Ruby Sparks, a film I tried to get through earlier in the week.  Terrible casting choices aside, the concept is a unique one, but the execution is, like the above example, clunky.

Why do I bother slagging other people’s work?  I think it’s because I’m scared of becoming the above examples.  Both of my completed manuscripts (and the WIP) rely heavily on a wink and nudge to the audience.  How far is too far?  When do you lose the reader?  How do you get someone to ‘go there’ with you?  Personally, I prefer the creativity of Terry Pratchett’s Mort or Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – these are the works I prefer to aspire to.

What are your thoughts?

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