The Slings and Arrows of Reading a Fine, FINE Book When You’re Trying to Write One

I have been captured by a book and promise to write more fully when I’ve finished it, but I just need to share that he’s giving me heart palpitations, that scoundrel, its author.

Why?  Because Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of The Shadow of the Wind, is shaking my foundations as a newbie writer.  He’s shaking the conventions which I keep reading I ought respect.

“Show, don’t tell,” they admonish. “Abandon exposition and never write chunks of backstory, for they are info dumps and kill the reader,” I’m told. “And whatever you do, don’t emulate the writing you love.  Find your own style within you.”

Well shoot me with a brick.

Just to help you with a visual for the day, I’m presently pointing at the book in question–the brilliant, utterly rivetting, heart-rending and fraught-with-tension novel in question–and I say unto you, “BUT HE DOES IT SO WELL!!!!!”


Oh lord.  He does it so well.

I can sense my next post will be on voice, tone and style.  And on shuddering elbows, naturally.  If you haven’t read this book, please for the love of all that’s incredible, pick it up sometime.


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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4 Responses to The Slings and Arrows of Reading a Fine, FINE Book When You’re Trying to Write One

  1. lucidlunatic says:

    You’re telling me that he does info dumps well? Now this I have to see. I’ll get it on my Kindle as soon as I finish Atlas Shrugged, The Baroque Cycle, and The Last Unicorn.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Yes, do so and don’t waste a second. 🙂 And then tell me what you think. I mean, I’m literally weeping during some of them. And my heart’s in my mouth. 🙂 I need feedback on this rollercoaster…

  2. JLC says:

    “Shoot me with a brick” – LOL!!

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