Monday, January 18, 2010

Still hating on Dickens

In case you forgot, I hate Charles Dickens.

It’s nice to see someone much smarter than me — Icelandic author Steinar Bragi — agree. Bragi’s short story, “The Sky Over Thingvellir,” was included in the Best European Fiction 2010 anthology. In his Artist Statement at the end of the book, he wrote:

When it comes to Dickens, I weep with boredom over every single page he’s written; with time I’ve even begun to weep just seeing his books on a shelf. For those who haven’t read him, I would still suggest you do have a look, just so you can make up your own mind -- I’m not a fascist! But don’t spend too much time on it; really, it’s easy to make a quick survey: the first paragraph — of any of his books — is exactly like the rest of the book, and each of his books is exactly like the others. Nothing in Dickens will ever manage to surprise you. And if you want those characters, if you’ve really got a craving for those “Dickensian characters,” just go to a wax museum. It’s faster.

(Once again, I need to give credit to Bookslut for the initial post.)

On a completely different subject, the men of Three Guys One Book have compiled a list of 40 things a writer shouldn’t do. (Of course, these are literary men and not accountants, so they headlined it 50 Things a Writer Shouldn’t Do. These guys are no good with numbers. They call themselves Three Guys even though there’s four of them.)

All of the guys give good advice, even if you’ve heard most of it before. Jonathan Evison makes my favorite suggestion:

Don’t hide behind sarcasm.

Agreed, sarcasm is not clever and has not been clever since the early 1990s. Sarcasm is what happens when people run out of wit.

-Jason Lea,

P.S. New Year’s Resolution Update: Had to snowshoe with my night reporter Saturday for work YMCA program. Didn’t kill him, didn’t even threaten to. My managing editor suggested the night reporter and I were becoming friends. Threatened to kill managing editor.

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