Thursday, October 6, 2011

Overblown and Under-Edited?

Who are we to criticize a novel for being overblown and under-edited?  Granted, some of the classics are awfully long, some due to the fact that they were serialised, but I guarantee that unless a novel is of a substantial size you won’t be drawn in or get to know the characters so well.

I find that a lot of modern novels are generally not long enough. and some of these ‘indie’ authors on Amazon seem to be writing what I would term as ‘pamphlets’.  There’s no substance to them at all.  Some are okay for a VERY light read to pass the time but mainly they are forgettable.

I read this blog post recently and have been thinking about it a bit as I disagree with a couple of comments that were made.  Especially the remark about Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants for example (I found this novel to be very entertaining and I like to think myself a discerning reader), and then there’s the dig at J K Rowling’s Harry Potter being woefully under-edited!  I’d like to see what my (adult) daughter and die-hard Potter fan would like to say to that.  I think they are wonderfully written novels, and very clever.  Their success and the fact that they have probably got more children (and adults) reading than any other series speaks for itself.  My son would never have picked up a book if not for Harry Potter.  I don’t think any real Potter fan would accept a novel of just a few hundred pages with no exposition or reference to the previous works.

I also read a review yesterday (on Good Reads) that criticized Anna Karenina for being under-edited.  You’ve got to be kidding!

So, give me an overblown under-edited novel any day, because I know that I’ll be thinking about the story and the characters long after I’ve tossed aside an indie ‘pamphlet’.

Actually, I totally digressed. as I really wanted to talk about Philip K Dick's Ubik.  I'll have to save that for another night!

Happy Reading!



  1. From my daughter: Absolutely agree! The only times I could do with a bit of editing is with those authors who spend 5 pages describing a flower in the garden, the way it smells etc etc hehe but give me chapters of character back story and I'm a happy girl! And yes ... Don't even get me started on calling Potter under-edited!!!!

  2. I wonder if this is part of a backlash coming from the woeful sub-editing seen in too many books nowadays (even from the major houses). That and the sundry vanity and near-vanity publishers around.

    Can you imagine what the slashers would do to Emile Zola!

  3. Yeah, you've got it. But I still like to try the indie authors on and off as hoping to stumble on a great read.