Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Witness

I read two books this week. I know! Two! crazy!! Actually, that's stretching the truth. I started two books. Both called The Witness. One by Dee Henderson. The other by Nora Roberts.

The story lines were similar, as you might expect from a romance story called the witness. Heroine sees a crime, goes into hiding, and eventually must come out of hiding.

I wanted to write about this, not to go on and on about what I didn't like in Henderson's book... she is highly acclaimed. People love her books. They say her writing is grittier, edgy. [than most Christian Fiction] I suppose that's true. It's definitely true! Unfortunately, I did get bored. I started skimming, then skipping. Until finally I stopped. And in that time...about through chapter five, I was never once in the heroine's POV. It also bugged me that the hero, the Police Guy, never once suspected the heroine. Didn't even for one instance think to detain her at the crime scene. His assumption that she was the damsel in distress... eh. Why did it bug me? I'm not sure I can say. Maybe it was because I hadn't been in her POV. I would think a story like this would need to start in her POV. She has the most at stake. As writers, that's the question we ask when we are comtemplating, Whose point of view should I be in during this scene? The answer is always, who has the most to lose? Who is risking the most? Who has the most at stake? In any case, now I am going on about it. Over all, though, the story didn't capture me. It fell flat as I struggled to feel as if I knew anyone.   There was a distance in the writing of the characters. I didn't not feel connected to them. And I'm a Christian! I want to feel connected to people in Christian books! But, I don't... it's like Christian writers are too worried about how their characters will come across, how they'll be perceived. The writing is stilted instead of filled with life. It's...what's the word, formulated...planned...something.

Which brings me around to Roberts' book, The Witness. Right away I'm thrust into the life of a young lady, a girl. I feel for her. The more I get to know her, the more I love her and want the best for her. I feel sorry for her and indignant and even scared. I can't put the book down. It's her story...the story of THE WITNESS. As far as technique goes, NR hit this one on the head. Over the last several releases, I would have admitted that it seemed Nora had been influenced by publishing house rules... no POV changes midscene. Her writing had become somewhat predictable, perhaps a little flat. But this book proved that she is still going strong. Her POV switches, even midscene, were done to perfection. The book actually reminded me of her book Public Secrets, which, btw, is my all time favorite book EVER.

Lesson learned this week.
Keep the writing real. Draw your readers in with your characters. I'm convinced that story line comes in second place to well-written characters. This is the perfect example of that... two books, same title, similar [sort of] story lines, night and day on the characters. :D

BTW, this is NOT a review. :D
Have a wonderful Thursday,
Bethanne

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good point. Characters are key to any story. You have to want to side with them, feel with them, and bleed with them. If you don't, then what's the point?

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