Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sagacious Jowls

"You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country."
~ Robert Frost
I’m no grammar expert, I know my dictionary and am excellent in spelling. Sure I get a few words misspelled and I’m always kicking myself in the butt for that, but all in all I consider myself a person who spells correctly.

I also like difficult words but surely there is a place for them. When used incorrectly or in the wrong place, you can really throw your reader into a state of perplexity that he or she didn’t sign onto when they picked out your book to read.

I’m reading such a book now, fifty pages into the book and I still don’t know where it is going. The author throws words out that I can’t even repeat because while I have the intelligence to know what the words mean, it just didn’t fit in with the telling of the story. I won’t tell you the book, but I’ll tell you the author, Peter Straub.

This is a first time read of Mr. Straub, and while I ‘heard’ he was an okay writer, I didn’t hear that he was good at storytelling. You can be a good writer that throws a story together, has the conflicts in all the right places and time in the telling of a tale but this man is just not a show’er. What I’m saying is that he is telling the story. And as we’ve learned, if you read my blog, showing verses telling is a big difference.

But not only is he telling the story instead of showing, he’s using these words so out of context that it is tripping me up while I’m trying to read the story. Last night I tripped over ‘sagacious jowls’? I mean really, you can’t find another word? Why couldn’t he have used ‘sapient’ or perspicacious? (kidding) I just don’t know of any writing, unless maybe you’re of the descent of snobbery, where you would use that term sagacious.

There is a place and time for that language, like at a business meeting of lawyers and doctors where they are all sitting around with sagacious smiles, but jowls? I don’t know, that’s a tough one to call. I think writers want to reach readers, and not lose them. If the intellectual of society is sitting around reading Mr. Straubs book, then good for them, but to me, just an average reader, I do not, in no way shape or form, want to trip over words and stumble through very hard to read paragraphs.

Maybe by the end of the book, I’ll tell you what it was about. That’s if I get that far. By Saturday if I can’t figure out where this story is going or what it is about, it’s going back to the library! Then I will get the book Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson (click to read audiobook review) at which time I will not be disappointed because Mr. Matheson knows how to carry a story, research it and make the impossible seem possible.

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