March 20th, 2006

good mris pic

Didn't you used to...?

I've run into a confusing phenomenon several times over the last year. It's not confusing when writers screw things up in their books -- writers are as sadly fallible as the rest of humanity. But sometimes I run across a writer who has changed length or sub-genre and seems to have lost a solid skill in the transition.

I can see why someone who knew how to pace a novel might not know how to pace a short story, or vice versa. But when someone's dialog gets clunky and weird in a novel, and it was crisp and reasonable in multiple short stories, I'm confused. Similarly, I can see where one might think high fantasy required or at least benefitted from a different kind of description than urban fantasy or magical realism -- but why would the pacing go south during the switch? I can see where someone might overthink vocabulary and sentence structure when switching from adult to YA, but where would the total lack of character development come in?

It's a little daunting as a reader, wondering where someone is going to just suddenly stop doing something next.