By in Personal

A connundrum

I have a bit of a dilemma on my hands.

To cut a long story short I am friends with a guy who has written several books, almost exclusively football related as he was a sports journalist before taking to books. He wrote two novels a few years back based on my old hometown.

knowing that I am in fact a character in these books, I have declined to read them up till now. I started the first one today. I am about half way through and I am not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. The story is good, but we are seemingly stuck in the past. The book is about a murder and we are stuck in the days leading up to it for chapter after chapter now, its all just chit chat in the pub at the moment.

I love the author to bits, and I understand why he has written it in this way but so far I have gone from loving how his sense of humour tells a great tale of my tiny hometown to feeling like I am back behind the bar listening to the same old chit chat day after day. I hope it will improve, in fact I am sure it will but I just feel this middle part is going on far too long.

He will expect me to review the book, he will likely ask me for my personal feedback what on earth do I do?

He is a ridiculously well respected non-fiction writer and he always told me about this novel he was going to write. People obviously love it, the second was published a while back and he is currently writing the third. Is it maybe just not my cup of tea? Oh I do hope it gets back to being funny in the next chapter and perhaps even gets back to the issue at hand: the murder.

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MegL wrote on March 11, 2017, 4:01 PM

Even people you might think would know "how to write" need to learn the craft of novel writing if that is new to them. They also need a good editor BEFORE they publish and by that I mean someone who will be truthful and point out where they are actually "telling not showing" and also where they are using their novel writing to create the "back story" for themselves. Generally, family and friends do not do this job well for fear of offending and because they want to be encouraging. On the other hand Charles Dickens wrote pages and pages of descriptions of journeys in his novels because they were written in parts for the newspapers and he had to write a certain amount each week or month. As a reader, I learned to be able to skip over the boring description bits and get to the next "event". Maybe you could "skip" read the conversations unless there is something in them that might lead to the murderer? In terms of reviewing the book, tell him which parts you like. You don't need to say "I didn't like this or that". You could tell him, "I loved the humour where you...." Or "your description of .... was so real". It's rather like they used to say about soldiers leaving the forces - if he was a drunkard, his CV would say that he was honest. If he was a thief, his CV would say he was sober!

luisga814 wrote on March 12, 2017, 12:12 AM

I love to read this kind of articles whom to introduce about fiction writing. Although, he is a non-fiction writer, I love to read it also.

Colibry21 wrote on March 12, 2017, 6:08 AM

It can be a tricky situation for sure. It's not easy. If you can find a way to put it nicely, then great! But if nothing else, maybe you could just say that it wasn't your cup of tea.

melody23 wrote on March 12, 2017, 12:02 PM

I think to be honest that he is simply trying to get the point across that my old work is a super friendly place but its just going on too long. I never returned to it yesterday but I might do later on today. Its one of those weird the murder happens at the beginning but we need to go back in time before we get back to that type books. So far a guy is dead and lots of people are chatting to him beforehand in the pub - I'm on chapter 14, I just feel it should have picked up a little into the actual investigation of the murder by now.

lookatdesktop wrote on March 12, 2017, 12:06 PM

You will just have to read the rest of it. You might just find it worth your while. I read a good book recently I would like to share called BLIND MOON ALLEY. I think it all mostly took place in a bar. There was much more to the story but it was a good read for me.

MegL wrote on March 12, 2017, 1:37 PM

That's a well recognised novel format. I enjoyed Maeve Binchy's novel that was written that way. I think it was called "Light a Penny Candle". The resolution did not come until the last chapter but all the chapters in between were interesting and kept me turning the pages, they did not bore me with constant chit chat.

SyddyHud wrote on March 21, 2017, 11:17 PM

The thing here is to let him know since you lived that story that reading about it will be different for you then it is for a reader who was not there and does not know the story. Reading something you already lived through is different than someone reading it who hasn't been through it. Let your friend know that your opinion will be completely different than how the public may take it.
And as you said, perhaps it's not your cup of tea. Everyone has different writing styles. Take movies for instance. They say Reservoir Dogs is somewhat of a classic but I watched the first few minutes of it and was bored, and I majored in movie production! But everyone is different and just make your friend aware of that before telling your opinion of his book.