I went to a mini-con the other day, and I had something of an existentialism. They just didn’t have much of anything I wanted to buy. Maybe I should frame it as my being above the material world, all enlightened and shit, but it’s just weird when your identity doesn’t overlap much at all with the group you want to identify with even as far as tchotchkes go.
But I found me some indie writer peeps to try out. I wanted to like their stuff, but I have a hard time plopping my cash out without a better sense of what I’m buying than some poorly edited back-of-the-book blurbs. Praise be to the book-gods for Kindle samples.
First up is Dane G. Kroll, whose blurbs are a lot clearer when he’s writing about kaiju than when he’s writing about…I’m still not sure what his non-kaiju fantasy series is about. He also has a horror story about church camp, but I had to put it down because Poe’s law and I don’t have faith in how not-horrible Calvinists can be.
But anyway, since I’m not into kaiju, I checked out his other fantasy series, Eluan Falls. It has a horribly vague blurb, aaaaaaand the sample didn’t help. At all. Even in three-ish chapters I still didn’t gain an idea of what the damn plot even was. The main character is pretty boring, and while there is potential, I don’t want to spend the time it would take to dig it out. This is what editors are for.
Next up is A.R. Crebs with The Esoteric Design, which I had higher hopes for, but all her characters are assholes. Sexist assholes, even the main female character, and I just didn’t/still don’t have the wherewithal to wade through that.
Your female character isn’t cool and tough because she bitches at rookie cops and girls who dye their hair pink. She’s just a dick. There’s also a fine line between (supposedly) sexy and charming versus actually likeable, and your dudebro characters helped me articulate that.
But I want to like her work! She’s got an index of character designs and shit in her paperbacks! The sci-fi worldbuilding seems pretty awesome, but I can’t get past the motherfuckers that populate it.
It’s possible to make unlikeable characters work, but this writing style is too clunky to do so. She pads the pages with too much description, and even that could work if her characters didn’t suck and her dialog was better. Though nothing can really save the terrible dialog. It’s basically the center of a Venn diagram of literary farts.
I think this one would actually be better as a graphic novel. She has the chops for it, too, with a degree in illustration!
There’s a big whirlpool of discussion when it comes to gatekeepers and their role in the marketplace, and while I like the idea of being on the side of creatives not held back by demographics and sales, right now I want someone else to do the work of prying the good stuff out. With better blurbs.