I am fighting a headache. i know why I have a headache and it is my own damn fault. You see a few weeks ago I found this really nifty used book store about a mile or two from my house. I located a copy of the book Clan of the Cave Bear which I’d never read. I find it fascinating to read stories set in a per-historic time and so I bought it (and a bunch of other books). It got kicked around the room a bit before I finally, night before last, decided to read.
I was up till past 4am reading it thursday night and again last night when I finished it.
I am of many thoughts here on it. There were good points and bad points and so I thought I’d list it out here.
First of all I saw in this book great potential, but was put together in a very clumsy form. It wavered from a tight 3rd to a distant narration which bordered on a science teacher flavor and back. Headhopping was…. wow. I counted 5 POV switches in a single scene. And there were info dumps.
Now here’s something I wanted to think about and to mention, the author told me a bit of information, and after that, told me again, and again, and again the same piece of info. As if I would forget, as if I were stupid.
There were other things, stated facts about the Clan which I know now science has disproved but was accepted at the time the book was written. Attitudes the characters had, however, felt true to their culture.
The herbology lessons in the guise of the character’s conversation both bugged and intrigued me. It felt like a case of the author found some information and thought it was so cool she had to include it.
That said, my internal editor was screaming at me to start red-penning the book.
Yet I stayed up far too late, two nights in a row, to finish that horribly written book.
The story, with all its faults, was compelling. I wanted to honestly know what the heck was going to happen to Ayla, the main character. I wanted to see where she ended up. I wanted to know more about her world, her culture, and the people she called family. You see the author caught my attention, and despite the faults of how it was put together, kept my attention enough that I am sitting here nursing an eye-strain headache thinking about all the advice that flys around new writers; don’t do this, don’t do that… so on and so forth.
Sometimes the advice forgets one huge detail which ends up leaving a story a flat and uninteresting mess. What so many people tend to forget among the confusing clutter of how to put it all together, is….. a story. A story that sometimes pulls the reader along, unwilling, kicking, and screaming and won’t let go until they close that back cover and go WTF did I just read? <——– that was me at 4am
Now I am not going to say ignore all the advice. The cleaner the story, the easier to read. I think I wasted a lot of my reading time when reading that book, re-reading info covered in earlier chapters. But the story is what pulled me forward, my empathy with the mc. The tale behind the head-hopping and info dumps. When you are working on your story, try not to forget the concept, the idea, the premise of what made you want to write it in the first place.
Those are my thoughts, I welcome comments and thoughts.
Now, today, I am planning on trying to wrap up the zombie thing and work on Bastard Prince. Once I lose my headache.
For now? I think I’ll go to see what the next book is because I am curious and want to find out what happens to Ayla…
Happy Sat folks
ohohohohoh I should mention; this book is not one for minors. There are several rape scenes, brutality towards women, beatings and attitudes that are very primative. Those of you who might have issues with those sorts of scenes would do well to stay away from this book. I did have to grit my teeth a bit because of the attitudes, even of the “good” guys. Just fyi