Thursday, December 13, 2012

Characters & Viewpoint

by Orson Scott Card

Grade: 3 1/2 stars

Thoughts: Really good book about writing and characters, by the author who wrote Ender's Game and a million other SciFi/Fantasy books. From the good and bad parts of stereotypes to the importance of characters suffering to writing in 1st person vs. writing in 3rd person, he looks up close at the actual craft of writing.

This is one I'd like to buy and use as a reference. I don't write all that often, but I love thinking about characters and why exactly I find them fascinating/boring/whatever adjective suits them.

A while back, Orson Scott Card made some sort of remarks that many people took as homophobic. I don't actually remember what those remarks were, so I'm not going to comment on that. However what I would like to comment on is the fact that so many people on the internet are now saying, "I really want to read this book, but OSC's a total jerk, and I never want to read his books again". This really annoys me. Are they going to stop reading all books that have authors they disagree with? Part of the POINT of reading is to become familiar with someone else's mind, sometimes because they have good things to say, and sometimes because they have bad things to say, and you need to be able to recognize the bad when you see it. Why do you think "Mein Kampf" is still widely read and available when it's author was one of the worst people in history?

Maybe it annoys me so much because I, as an orthodox Catholic, end up reading TONS of books whose authors I disagree with. All the time. Always. Sometimes it shows up in their books, sometimes not. Sometimes I really strongly disagree with them, sometimes only a bit. But it doesn't stop me from reading them, unless it figures so strongly that it makes the actual reading of their books unpleasant. OSC's views don't show up in his books at all, as far as I know--and people STILL go on and on about this.

Anyhow. This rant is sidestepping the point somewhat (which is why it's in the P.S. and has that huge warning at the top), but I have read some reviews of this book that have mentioned this point, and it annoyed me so much that I had to write about it somewhere. A book like this doesn't talk about an author's views on anything like that ANYWAY; it's purely about the art of writing. WHAT you write about, or what your ideas on life are, isn't discussed.


Aquinas' Goose said...

The world is full of ignorant and / or uneducated people (who, usually honestly, do not recognize their uneducated, ignorant status) and the Internet has become the perfect forum for them to "spread the love." It's why I have reduced my on-line reading to very particular blogs and rarely, if ever, read comments on books, news reports, etc.

RED said...

I've tried to reduce my comment reading too, but I've not had much success so far. I find comment reading rather addicting for some strange reason, and can never stop at simply reading the blog post. The same thing with reviews/news reports etc. too. It often only makes me feel sad and depressed, but I can't seem to stop...sigh.

There are some benefits, though, I suppose. I like knowing the general trend of people's opinions, and then I can work out exactly what I think about an issue in case it ever comes up in real life.