[LMB] OT: Writer's tricks, expecting the reader to continue without understanding

Fred Smith fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us
Sat Oct 13 03:12:56 BST 2018

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 10:15:16PM -0400, Rachel wrote:
> I'm about 50 pages into Too Like Lighting and I'm vaguely irritated with it
> because I don't feel like I have a strong understanding of the world and of
> what's going on. I wonder what determines an individual reader's tolerance

I havethe same problem with this book. moreover, I have the  same problem
with many of the books Tor gives away. I find them too weird, or too
unwilling to work with me, and I usually give up within a chapter or two.

I keep trying anda few of them are books I can get through and sometimes
evenlike. But for sure many of them are just too opaque I don't THINK it
is a sign of old age...


> of this, and how specifically writers think about how to provide enough
> information without making things dull or info-dump-y? I don't recall ever
> feeling lost in Lois's books, but I also re-read them so many times that I
> have surely lost any memory of what it was like to read them first? I think
> that Lois makes use of Barrayaran discomfort with the nexus to explain
> foreign behaviours, and makes use of non-Barrayaran characters to allow
> Miles to explain the ins and outs of Barayarran culture.
> I can think back on books that I've read and see a sort of continuum of
> this. I did not like Neuromancer (which, granter, I read quite young)
> because after finishing the book I felt like I STILL didn't know what had
> happened. Things in Too Like Lighting are slotting into place, but I still
> feel like there are too many things still hanging for me to keep track of
> them. I think Fifth Season held a little more explanation back than Lois's
> books do, but it was just perfect for me. Though I have friends who find
> even Lois' books a bit confusing, and have heard complaints before from non
> SF readers that they don't feel familiar enough with the language and
> creatures of SF to know what's going on.
> Do writers spend a lot of time worrying about this? And is the ability to
> keep enjoying a book that is using unexplained made-up words until their
> meaning becomes clear something that just comes with practice?
> I suppose a side issue might be that unexplained new language interferes
> with the flow state of reading fiction, and for those who find a primary
> enjoyment in attaining that flow state (I do) that interuption is
> irritating.
> --
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---- Fred Smith -- fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us -----------------------------
                    The Lord detests the way of the wicked 
                  but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
----------------------------- Proverbs 15:9 (niv) -----------------------------

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