Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Overwritten Books?

When it comes to most books I read I feel like the writers could have made better and more concise choices. Economy of language does not seem to be espoused by most writers and who could blame them. It is, in my opinion, the hardest thing to master.
So, Kevin Drums article on the topic is particularly interesting to me.
Drum observes:
"And yet.....having said that, spending a lot of time on the internet, as I have since 2002, has rubbed my nose in something that hadn't really bothered me before then: namely just how overwritten so many books and magazine articles are. Seymour Hersh? He's great. You could also cut every one of his pieces by at least 50% and lose exactly nothing. And I'm not picking on Hersh. At a guess, I'd say that two-thirds of the magazine pieces I read could be sliced by nearly a third or more without losing much. That's true of a lot of books too."
Full feature here.

Do you have any examples of overwritten books?
graph per wshingtonmonthly


Anonymous said...

Every book 'written' by a celebrity.

Anonymous said...

I also thnik that the internet has made an impact on most readers' attention spans, so most things appear verbose-y.....

Anonymous said...

my attention span is that of a toddler these days..., so i'd say pretty much everything is 'overwritten'.... even my comment.

Anonymous said...

Charles Dickens

Sra said...

I think the Harry Potter series is a perfect example of overwriting. Each successive tome is inches larger than its predecessor. The first, and skinniest, of the series is still one of the best stories in the bunch. The seventh includes about 300 pages of Harry and his friends pitching camp in the woods. Not much else happens. Then the last hundred pages crams in so much information that you feel overloaded. What an awful way to end a great series.

Also, I feel movies in general are overwritten these days. Does every story really need at least 2 hours to tell? A example that comes to mind is EDTV, which is a good movie, but it would be great if they cut out about 45 minutes. If not for that I might watch it more often.

The only long movies I can handle are LOTR, the Harry Potter movies (which are sometimes better than the books, as is the case with the 5th), and the Sound of Music.

My comment might also be a little overwritten :S

Anonymous said...

Right. Basically every Hollywood movie... What's with the 3-hour installments?!
Oh, and I shouldn't even get started with my discussion of Reality TV. To quote that bard also known as Flava Flav, I could get quite "dramatical."