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This one time at Writer's Camp…

Tastes Like Chicken

You ever read a book and find yourself thinking “I’ve read this before” as you turn through every page, every character reminiscent of a long-lost friend?

Well, yeah, okay… sequels. Easy enough, right? You know the characters already (from previous novels) while being introduced to new, exciting ones (you can only hope).

But have you ever read a book that is a stand-alone and you suddenly realize that the author used these same exact characters (albeit with different names) in an entirely different universe? And you think “Holy crap, what the hell is going on here?”

Yeah, those days are days when I think that everything some writers write is like chicken.

It all tastes the same, no matter how you dress it up.

Marinade? Chicken. Grilled? Chicken. Barbecue? Chicken.

So in that vein…

I was reading City of Bones and I suddenly stopped and thought “Holy crap, these characters are the same as in Clockwork Angel!” Now I know some other authors I enjoy reading are guilty of this (*pointed look at John Ringo*) but Cassandra Clare is pretty blatant about it, including the strange love triangle that seems to be populating today’s crop of YA fiction (which I need to research more… if The Cole Chronicles has three boys chasing one girl, I could be setting a new trend, right?). Of course, Stephanie Meyer does this in both Twilight and The Host, though (I think, I’ve only read detailed outlines of The Host) she rid herself of the helpless little “woe is me” female lead.

Yes, major book publishers, it is true. Everything you put out now tastes like chicken.

Could you imagine nowadays someone trying to publish A Clockwork Orange? It doesn’t fit in the current mold of novels being published and, therefore, would probably never make it past some low-level acquisitions editor (if it even made it past the slush pile reader, should they have one). It tastes like orange, not chicken, and we all can figure out now what happens when something doesn’t taste the same as everything else out there on the shelves.

Just some random Friday evening thoughts about chicken.

Mmm… now I’m hungry.

 

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One response to “Tastes Like Chicken

  1. MishaBurnett April 6, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I got the feeling that the Clockwork Angel and City Of Bones series were deliberate echoes of each other–in fact, there is one rather important (and obviously long-lived) supporting character who is in both. But the triads that develop in each series are too similar, I think, to be accidental.

    As for The Host, from the trailers it seems that the filmmakers have taken Meyer’s original novel (which is an atmospheric and brooding alien invasion novel from the point of view of one of the invaders) and made it into something completely different. Pity, that, the novel is very good, nothing at all like the Twilight saga.

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