Saturday, 27 October 2007
Thinking about Mills & Boon...
What makes good writing good (and bad writing bad)?
I listen to the radio while I work; BBC 7, Classic FM and Oneword mostly, and today I happened upon the Mills & Boon serial, The Greek's Chosen Wife by Lynne Graham.
It was immediately obvious what it was, as I came in on the statutory bit at the end where the conflict between the hero and heroine segues into declarations of hidden love. And it was quite bad. Not just the predictability of the plot (arranged marriage turns to true love) with its stock characters - he gorgeous and commanding, she beautiful and feisty - but the quality of the writing, which was both overblown and inept.
Nick, the golden-eyed hero, seldom says anything; instead, 'Nick imparted wryly', 'Nick censured huskily' or even 'Nick slotted in'. 'He found her mouth' had me jeering at the radio, below her nose and above her chin, now there's a surprise.
The book was plain bad, just as Jane Austen's are plain good. But what about good bad books, like the Famous Five series, or Dracula? Or bad good books, like À la recherche du temps perdu?
Posted by Lexi at Saturday, October 27, 2007