So, being in a formal critique group has ruined me. RUINED ME. Now, when I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which I LOVE, I hear every “-ly” word she uses and it is like a stake through my heart.
In case you didn’t know, “-ly” words are wrong. WRONG.
Just because, that’s why.
In some ways, though, it has given me the tools to see mistakes in the writings of others and resolve not to make the same mistakes in my own writing. One particular instance of this struck me as I was reading this week.
I’ve been working my way through the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. It’s strictly young adult, and though the message is sound, the narrative is distinctly eye-rolly in places. Still, it’s interesting enough and it’s keeping me distracted from the fact that I am number thirty five on the library hold list for Insurgent.
While I was reading Uglies, and the subsequent books, Pretties and Specials, I noticed something about Mr. Westerfield. He has a tendency to leave a lot of loose ends. Not small loose ends, either. At one point, the main character kidnaps a neurologist and then proceeds to COMPLETELY FORGET ABOUT HIM once she reaches her destination. Which is what we’re all supposed to do, apparently, because he’s never mentioned again. The poor guy is probably still sitting in a hovercar, waiting for rescue. At another point, the main character gets separated from her love interest and doesn’t seem particularly bothered or even really notice until much later. It’s like she looked around a week after getting separated and said “Oh, he’s missing. Oh well.”
What I’m saying is this. Know you plot points, and don’t just leave things hanging all over the place. Cliffhangers are great, unresolved plot points are maddening.
As a disclaimer, the Uglies series is actually pretty solid if you like distopian YA. I really am enjoying them, gaping plot holes and all.