Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Stop recycling characters, new ones are more interesting

I saw this book at the store last night, and it caught my eye, because I've read several of DeMille's books and liked most of them. However, as soon as I read the jacket, I was disappointed that this book features characters used in two of his other books. The characters were pretty good, and I enjoyed the other two books, but at some point these characters get stale. Yet authors continue to churn out new books recycling the same characters over and over again. I guess it's because people continue to read them, and I guess I can understand that, so I'm doing my part not to perpetuate this terrible trend.

I first noticed how much I hated this when I read about 12 of John Sandford's Prey books. I was stuck, when I finished one, I just read the next one, then finally when I read something else instead, I realized I had been reading the same story over and over again. Once you get to know the characters, they aren't nearly as interesting, there's no mystery. Also, the writers (at least in my experience) seem reluctant to develop characters further after a certain point. They turn into superheros, almost. You know nothing bad is going to happen to them, and you definitely know they aren't going to die.

Later, I read Tim Dorsey's Florida Roadkill and the books following it. I thought the first two were hilarious. But after that, it was just the same characters doing the same things againa and again. I'd really love to see how Dorsey would handle a new group of characters, since he is a very good writer. I gave up after reading five books with the same characters, I think there are now seven he's written.

I've read four books by Dan Brown and he uses the same characters in two of them, which I think is about enough, unless you're telling some long epic continuing story. Unfortunately, Brown recycles the entire plot for all 4 of his books. And while he may not use the same characters, they all fit into the same roles in his single plot.

I know writers do this because it is what is profitable, but it's sad to me to see good writers writing the same thing over and over again, and I really wish people wouldn't read these recycled stories and recycled characters and encourage this.

Posted by

No comments: