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Old 10-07-2017, 01:14 PM   #26
Carnal_Flower
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I love Stephen King, but he got worse as he went along. The later ones, with a few exceptions, are all ridiculously overwritten and too long, like you say. The pivotal book is The Tommyknockers, if you ask me. That's when his editor decided to take a vacation and everything since then just went off the cliff--with a few exceptions like I said. The JFK book was good.

But his earlier books and especially his short stories are excellent. I would consider him a master of horror, yes, and in some cases a master of writing--at least, popular writing. I don't think he's ever claimed to be avant garde. He writes pop culture entertainment, with some larger themes sometimes, but above all excellent entertainment.

His best book is The Shining, no doubt. IT, Carrie, Misery, Cujo, The Dead Zone, all vastly entertaining and well written. And SO many great short stories and short novels.

I read one or two Dan Brown and found them so lightweight. Not even a comparison. King is so much better, both as a sheer writer and in his ideas. Brown was just silly nonsense with some vague religious idea thrown in--the real comparison is to Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose. That's what Dan Brown wishes he could be.


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Originally Posted by someoneyouknow View Post
Let me preface everything by saying I have never read a single Dan Brown book. At best I've skimmed a few lines here and there when I find one of his books at a yard sale.

With the exception of Gerald's Game, I have never read a single Stephen King book, either. What I do remember of that solitary book was, "Oh my god. Get to the point already!" It seemed King went on an on about nothing important. Then again, I don't scare that easily despite a fairly vivid imagination.

That said, Dan Brown's newest book, Origin, is coming out this week and CBS has this short interview with him. There is also a link to read the prologue and first chapter of the book.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/author-...i-code-origin/

To finally get to the point (see above), Stephen King has called Brown's writing, in general, the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Which raises the point, is King that good compared to Brown, or are their genres so different it is unfair to make a direct comparison? Would any of you consider King a master of writing? Along the same lines, what about Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts? From what I have read about those two their stories are essentially the same with only the characters and locations changed.

Is King simply full of himself? As Brown himself admits, he's not trying to be like Faulkner.

These are only my questions for those who have read both authors. Just your opinions and thoughts on this. Examples of why, for both authors, would be appreciated.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:46 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KindofHere View Post
But Ogg, it WAS a dark and stormy night. Why does he get so much shit for telling it like it was?
The full version from "Paul Clifford" is:

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It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
IMHO that original version is overwritten, so I can understand why it's criticised. But condensing it down to just "It was a dark and stormy night" fixes the problem, making the criticism confusing to readers who don't know the original.

I do think it's unfair to make Bulwer-Lytton the poster-boy for bad Victorian prose. There were plenty of others writing similar stuff, and B-L came up with several great expressions that are still popular today, they just don't get associated with his name.

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It's nice to know he has a sense of humor. I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank.
I expect he does and is, but that wasn't a real statement from Dan Brown. Daily Mash is a parody site.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:29 PM   #28
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:38 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
The full version from "Paul Clifford" is:



IMHO that original version is overwritten, so I can understand why it's criticised. But condensing it down to just "It was a dark and stormy night" fixes the problem, making the criticism confusing to readers who don't know the original.

I do think it's unfair to make Bulwer-Lytton the poster-boy for bad Victorian prose. There were plenty of others writing similar stuff, and B-L came up with several great expressions that are still popular today, they just don't get associated with his name.



I expect he does and is, but that wasn't a real statement from Dan Brown. Daily Mash is a parody site.
I should have caught that! Burned.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:52 PM   #30
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Why do you got ruin my joke?
I sometimes miss humour. Beg pardon :-)
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:32 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
...

I do think it's unfair to make Bulwer-Lytton the poster-boy for bad Victorian prose. There were plenty of others writing similar stuff, and B-L came up with several great expressions that are still popular today, they just don't get associated with his name.

...
I wasn't. I was making the point that authors who are popular and best-selling in their era - which Bulwer-Lytton was - don't always impress later generations.

By what standard should we judge an author? By financial success? Critical acclaim of their contemporaries? Or survival as a much read author many decades after their death?

Mrs Henry Wood (Ellen Wood) was a popular author who outsold Charles Dickens in Australia and became popular in many other countries too. She was a successful author. Who reads her now?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Wood_(author)
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:09 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
By what standard should we judge an author? By financial success? Critical acclaim of their contemporaries? Or survival as a much read author many decades after their death?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Wood_(author)
I think you judge by the writing. Look past everything else and focus hard on the writing. I don't mean that you can evaluate good "writing" by one metric. "Writing" can mean a lot of things. Being able to come up with a good, fast-paced, engaging plot is a talent and an aspect of good writing, even if it's not accompanied by an ability to execute the plot with good prose. I'd put Dan Brown in that category of writer. I've enjoyed his novels, even though by the third one I felt like I was reading the same book again, and I never got anything out of his prose style.

Stephen King is better than that, even if he writes so much and so quickly that a lot of his works hit the market seeming insufficiently edited, and full of big stretches of pedestrian prose. He has a talent with words that somebody like Dan Brown doesn't. There are some good passages in his early novels. Here are some from Salem's Lot, one of his best and earliest novels:

“The town has a sense, not of history, but of time, and the telephone poles seem to know this. If you lay your hand against one, you can feel the vibration from the wires deep within the wood, as if souls had been imprisoned in there and were struggling to get out.”

“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym…”

“And all around them, the bestiality of the night rises on tenebrous wings. The vampire’s time has come.”

I think that's some pretty good stuff. You won't find anything like that in a Dan Brown novel.
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:29 PM   #33
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I think you temper judging the writing with judging whether or not there's an audience being served. I don't have to be part of that audience to avoid going after the author's writing.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:10 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
I wasn't. I was making the point that authors who are popular and best-selling in their era - which Bulwer-Lytton was - don't always impress later generations.
I didn't mean to imply that you (or anybody else here) were unfairly targeting Bulwer-Lytton. That comment of mine was directed at the naming of the Bulwer-Lytton contest.

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Mrs Henry Wood (Ellen Wood) was a popular author who outsold Charles Dickens in Australia and became popular in many other countries too. She was a successful author. Who reads her now?
I've never read her first-hand, but my partner and I do occasionally make "Dead! And never called me mother!" jokes... which, now I check, come from stage versions rather than the novel.

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Old 10-13-2017, 06:59 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
I didn't mean to imply that you (or anybody else here) were unfairly targeting Bulwer-Lytton. That comment of mine was directed at the naming of the Bulwer-Lytton contest.



I've never read her first-hand, but my partner and I do occasionally make "Dead! And never called me mother!" jokes... which, now I check, come from stage versions rather than the novel.
I think Bulwer-Lytton got tagged for that contest, and as an exemplar of bad prose generally, in part because of his name. If you're going to choose a name for your bad writing contest, his is a good name to choose. And that opening line (the full, not the truncated, line) from Paul Clifford is a doozy, you have to admit.
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