I had the idea that around this time of year, I’d review A Christmas Carol, but our Tuesday Fox beat me to it.
I had considered tucking the idea away until next year, but she got on it. Good job, Elaine!
However, after listening to family and friends praise yet another movie version, I watched their particular favorite. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as the George C. Scott version, (as Elaine rightly pointed out as superior), but it got me to thinking about performances vs writing.
When we got married, The Husband either liked a movie or he didn’t. It was cut and dry to him. It could be one of the most terribly acted, badly written pieces, but if he liked the content, it was ‘good’. If he did not like the context or content, forget it; he’d never even look at it and might even talk against it, (never having seen it).
Then he listened to me, with my critical eye. Now, he appreciates a good performance and can admit to a bad one in a ‘good’ movie. He can also spot a bad movie that contains good performances. He now even points out the merits or lack thereof in the scoring to me!
I am not here to discuss good/bad movies from good/bad books; we have done that enough.
My question is: Do you think that good writing can overcome bad context, as good acting can shine in a bad movie?
Bad writing certainly destroys any chance a good story has of finished being read, or certainly the reading of any sequel, by me. I made the mistake a few times of not reading, at least a sampling, authors’ works before inviting them in as guests. Some, I regret greatly, but one, well, it was so bad that I had to find a way to UNinvite the authors. Yes, it was THAT terrible. It was horribly written and basically unedited. When I questioned the main writer, (the husband of the team), as to how much of the genre he has read, he told me that he never reads, but the wife does, however, I doubt that even she reads much of the genre they were attempting.
You cannot write if you don’t read, that is all there is to it.
It is unfortunate; the storyline had great promise, as did some of the characters and subplots. Try as I might to word any interview politely, I could not in good conscience advertise the books in any way, let alone make it seem as though I could recommend it.
Not that I love everything written by my guests, not that I think that they all have to be great writers, but they have to be professional about it and make a real effort.
That isn’t to say that everything I read has to be a masterpiece or should become required reading. I am more than willing to give something not destined to be a classic 4-5 stars, according to its place in literature.
You don’t have to be a Tolstoy; just write a good cozy, romance, comedy,YA, children’s or other book and be good within the book’s genre. (Everyone wants 5 stars, however. I never do reviews of anyone I know anymore because:
1) not all of their works are 5-star quality and that’s all everyone wants, and
2) other writers that I know don’t measure up, so they feel left out or underappreciated. I am so sorry for the writers that I like, including my co-bloggers, but I have been ‘come-after’ for giving ‘only’ a 4 star review or by other writers after I posted a 5-Star review for someone else so much that I just can’t take the pressure anymore.)
But back to the question I proposed.
I believe that I have read everything that Ernest Hemingway ever wrote. I can’t say that I actually like any of the stories, but his style of putting words together is to me like listening to someone with a good voice and interesting accent. I can say the same about John Steinbeck. I can overcome some of Truman Capote’s works, even if the content is not my cup of tea, (I have not touched a few of his), but most of his early work was truly enjoyable.
Maybe I will venture into “In Cold Blood” eventually, but I can’t promise to do that. I absolutely hate the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, but after hearing an excerpt of the book read by Capote, I think eventually I will try to get through the story. There is a huge difference between his writing and the film.
Can you get through bad stories well written, or good stories badly written?
I will take the former, every time.