Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why I Hate Series Novels

After reading the second book, Drop Shot by Harlan Coben, I remembered why I hate series novels. The story was good, but the amount of rehashing makes my head spin. There is an assumption that the reader will forget these little details, which I find a touch condescending. Like, Win is a Tae Kwon Do expert or that Myron lives with his parents. The worst part is I am constantly being TOLD this not shown. In "Drop Shot" I get a full blown description of the restaurant they go to because they love it so much. You did this in the first novel already so PLEASE STOP.
Another thing I noticed with Drop Shot was the incredible amount of dialogue. Most everything I have ever read in regards to writing says to slim down the dialogue, show not tell, but damn if this book goes against all of that.  At one point I felt like I was looking at a screenplay. That does not mean it is a bad read. As an  aspiring writer you can get confused by all the "rules" of writing out there in internet land. I am very guilty of being a dialogue person more than a description writer, but I am not a screenwriter so I try to make sure every line count and work at trying to show things instead of just having my character ramble on. Actions do speak louder than words in a lot of cases and there were a few times as I was reading Drop Shot I was like, "Dude, all you had to do was have Myron do such and such and that would have said everything that took ten lines of dialogue!" Picky, picky I am.
This also occurred when I was reading the "In Death" series by Nora Roberts and the "Stephanie Plum" series by Janet Evanovich. I never finished either because I couldn't take the abuse anymore. If I had to read about "Eve's whiskey colored eyes" or "Stephanie's unruly hair" one more time I was going to email the authors and ask what the hell?? I gather this must be a requirement when it comes to writing said series, but I can't believe that is true. I mean, if it is a series, and someone decides to read book ten instead of book one, that's their problem. Number the damn things then because quite frankly, I have no desire to recount a character's looks and backgrounds every time I open a book. With "In Death" you are constantly reminded that Eve was abused. Look, if in every book you have to tell me this, though it is shown via nightmares now and then, there is an issue. Maybe by now she has gotten therapy, but I could care less. There has to be a series out there that just picks up where it left off and moves on with the story without the constant reminders. If anyone knows of any books like that, that is the series I want to read.

Now, I was reading "The Help" at the same time as "Drop Shot" and that may be why I have a stick up my butt. "The Help" was an excellent story. All the characters were interesting and at times, pathetic, with concise voices. Personally, I fell in love with Abilene, the maid, because she was the heart of it all in my opinion. I was engaged through most of the novel and let me say that if I was Minny, I would have done the same thing to that wretched Hilly Holbrook. Nasty, bigoted woman.

I do realize my dissecting of some authors makes makes me sound petty and not unlike a literary snob. I am not one. Really. Or maybe I am. My favorite book is "To Kill A Mockingbird", but there are many books I love and trust me, I love to read. Perhaps I am placing my own standards of what I expect of myself on these people and that is not fair. Like Nora gives a rat's behind that I hate Eve Dallas. God bless her as she laughs all the way to the bank, but then again, I am the customer and I want a product I can enjoy. For  those who love series novels, good for you. I wish I could join you in that pleasure, but until I find that elusive, well written, non-repetitive series, I cannot.



  1. I hate that too, not only in books but in the general media. One would assume the writer of the book/movie/tv show would simply do their thing and let the reader/watcher go back to view the back story. So much is taken out in a rehash and it dulls the true experience that was originally intended.

    Good Post