Day 8 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise.

Well, I have to pick epistolary novels. [A story composed of the characters’ written text, like letters, e-mails, notes, text-messages, diaries,etc.]

I chose this one because I read Cloud Atlas, and I enjoyed the way it was done–and then I read a book where I hated it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, I suppose. When it’s well done, it seems natural. You appreciate the suspense created by what the characters don’t know, getting inside their heads in private and public writing, and filling in gaps when another character provides more information.

When it goes wrong, well… the other book was a Pride & Prejudice revisit done with letters, and, while I read those books by the dozen, this was bad. You didn’t get inside the character’s minds, and it didn’t add anything to the original story. And, much like the ‘found footage’ films that I usually dislike, sometimes it seemed forced.

When I was younger, I loved the Princess Diaries books, which are done mostly as a diary, partly as texts/notes passed between friends. I think maybe a diary-based book works best, because it provides the most personal information…

Not a bad plot device, per se, but it can be done badly. And it’s been done so often, it’s bound to go wrong once or twice.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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