I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I’ve been meaning to review this book for a long time.
Title: The Writer
Author: Cristian Mihai
Genre: Literary Fiction/Satire/Psychological Mystery
The Plot: A man named Jonathon Fisher feels invisible to the world. He just wants to be a writer and be successful. He wants to say something to the world. But stuff happens and gets in the way, things get complicated…I can’t really say too much more without spoiling anything.
Good news and bad news…let’s start with the bad stuff.
There wasn’t too much plot structure. You’re thrown into the middle of this story (actually the end of it, but I’m spoiling things) and then you need to piece together the story as you go along. You don’t get a great feel for any over-arching plot or an antagonist, a problem that needs to be solved, etc. Well, not until you’ve read over half the story. And even then, the plot, as it turns out, seems kind of random.
Something else that I was up in the air about was how there seemed to be a touch of magic and fate in the story…supernatural powers at work…but the book seemed so…normal most of the time. Like it seemed as if it were about a normal person struggling and fighting through life, but then all of this “hand of God” or “Enter Satan” stuff comes into the book.
To say the least, it made the story interesting.
The Good Stuff
This book really drew you in because the THOUGHTS of the main character (Jonathan Fisher) were just so compelling and realistic. I immediately clicked with the feelings of the main character.
The main character has these lofty, philosophical, and, at times, very cynical thoughts. The power and realistic feel of Jonathan’s thoughts, his depression…it was amazing. He was so human, it was actually frightening, but terribly invigorating. I must admit that I felt as if I were glancing into the author’s soul.
Another great thing about this story is the amount of irony hidden therein. SO MUCH irony.
Something about this story was incredible because, for not having a plot, it was a page-turner. You wanted to just read and read this main character’s thoughts, wanted to see if his life would turn out okay, wanted to see if his dreams would come true.
And then the plot finally kicks in, and you’re like DANG.
Then it really becomes a page-turner.
You just desperately want Jonathan to be okay, to feel better about the world and other people. You want him to make good decisions. Because, by now, you’re SO drawn in. You want everything to be okay and make sense in the end.
And does it? Not completely.
By the way, the final sentence of the book makes your jaw hit the floor.
I loved this book. It spoke to me in so many different ways. At times, it kind of hurt me to watch someone similar to myself have these same struggles as Jonathan Fisher. Jonathan has this pessimistic, atheistic worldview, which was surprisingly realistic and meaningful to me, even though I’m a devout Catholic.
One of the solutions to Jonathan’s life, if I may be so bold, would’ve been to have faith in his life; he is utterly pessimistic and depressed because he can’t see the good in anything. But that’s what faith does; it transforms your worldview so that you CAN feel hope, even in those moments when the world seems like a terrible place; so that you CAN find reason to smile, and think, “Dang, it’s a good world! Life is good!”
Definitely consider giving this book a read! You can find it here.
That title is a mouthful, I know…
But it’s true, and thus I reiterate: What inspires your PERSON will inspire your WRITING.
Maybe this means like an obvious statement, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
I’ve been really busy; my life is just BUSY. I’m working a lot because I need money for an apartment so that I can commute to college. My family is putting our house up for sale, but a lot of work needs to be done on the house FIRST, as always. This means a lot of my time goes to working on the house.
I’ve also got relationships to keep up with in my family, friends, my girlfriend, God, etc…
Yeah, life is busy. To be honest, I rarely have time to even THINK about my story because I have to remain focused on whatever else I’m doing. It’s a painful existence, I’ll admit.
So it’s nice when I’m finally able to indulge myself in something that I enjoy…but something that doesn’t require too much creative expression.
Look, when I’m brain-dead after a long day of work, I don’t always want to write. Becauseeeeee I’m brain dead. But I can still do things that inspire me and therefore inspire my writing.
And what “things” would that be?
Uh, watching anime.
I know it sounds dorky or nerdy. But if you’re reading this then you’re probably a blogger too, which means you are also dorky or nerdy. So back off. 😉
Yes, I enjoy watching anime. Not the weird stuff. Or the romantic, pornographic stuff. The good, wholesome stuff. I like the intense action scenes, the heroism, the human emotions. I love the beautiful scenery and the amazingly choreographed fight scenes.
Just look at this picture and BASK….
This relaxes me…that might sound weird, but it does. It touches me deeply and makes me feel like me.
And, in the end, these are the same emotions I need–that anyone needs–when they right.
What makes you feel inspired? Don’t be afraid to find time to indulge yourself a little. You’ll be amazed at the impact it makes.
I hadn’t written my book for five days until today. But I just pushed out four pages on anime-inspired emotion and probably some of God’s grace. Four pages is pretty dang good. Yeah, believe me, inspiring yourself is important.
What do you think?
You might have great descriptive writing. You might be able to perfectly describe every detail of your fictional scenery. You might be able to put your imagination onto the page. And maybe you’re fantastic at describing actions, throwing in immaculate adjectives and adverbs.
Unfortunately, writing a novel is a lot more than just scenery and actions. It involves one thing that you NEED to get right: DIALOGUE.
What Does Bad Dialogue Look (…Sound?) Like?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. I think we all prefer “realistic-sounding dialogue”. Nobody likes cheesy one-liners, nobody likes it when we hear a character being all “preachy”. And sometimes, it’s annoying when a book character has better grammar than us, just because the author was so focused on making the dialogue “perfect”. We want dialogue that sounds realistic…you know, the way people would really talk in certain situations.
That being said, if we’re still being honest with ourselves…we DON’T want dialogue to be too realistic.
What do I mean?
Listen to a conversation between two ordinary people. It probably sounds like this:
“Well I was like, you know, uh, shopping for, like, some grapes, pineapples and, uh, carrots…”
Or it sounds like,
“The f***? Who the f*** would wear those f***ing shoes with that junk-a$$ jacket?”
Am I right, or am I right?
NO ONE PICKS UP A BOOK HOPING THAT THE DIALOGUE WILL BE LIKE THIS.
I’m sorry. I will not compromise. It’s BAD writing. I’m not saying it needs to be lofty, Shakespearean poetry. But the way REAL people talk is REALLY quite dumb a lot of the time.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that your dialogue is “realistic” because your characters sound as illiterate and trashy as the average person. Maybe a character in your story IS illiterate and trashy. But that doesn’t mean your readers will enjoy or take something away from dialogue that is just as pathetic as the way real people talk.
Let’s try to raise the bar for our readers. Why not show the culture what real talking sounds like, instead of catering to low standards? Can’t we…I don’t know…HELP society through our writing?
Dialogue That People WANT
So it needs to be realistic, without sounding like the way real people talk. This means that our characters are using words that make sense, given a certain situation. I mean, a lot of things need to be taken into consideration: the personality of the characters that are talking; the genre the book is in (if it’s a comedy/horror/romance); the time period that the book is set in; etc.
Only you understand the situations and the setting of your characters. These situations and settings will always be unique…which means I can’t provide you with specific guidelines.
That’s why I would challenge you to find other stories that are similar to yours. Study dialogue in movies or books that you enjoy. Writing good dialogue doesn’t have to be hard.
Just keep these things in mind:
- the way that my characters talk should make sense. Please, PLEASE make sure that it makes sense.
- It should have meaning. No one likes random talking, or dialogue that drags on and on. Writers never do anything without purpose.
- Be natural. Don’t be so crafty with your dialogue that it seems like a script. I mean…it sort of IS a script. But it should never seem like that. Could YOU see yourself saying the things that your characters say?
I hope this helps! Any thoughts? What do you think makes for good dialogue?