Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Most annoying genre tropes - Street Directory

I don't know if this is actually a genre trope, but it really gives me the shits.

I was reminded of it again when I read "No Cure For Love" by Peter Robinson. This was actually a book written in 1995 and re-released to look like a new book to fool unsuspecting customers (that's another post entirely).

It wasn't bad, but I was struck by the sheer number of pages dedicated to recounting EVERY SINGLE ROAD a character would drive down to get somewhere.

I suspect the main motivation behind this is so that the writer can claim their travel expenses on tax. "No Cure For Love" was set in LA, whereas Robinson's books are usually set in Yorkshire in England. So "No Cure For Love" is absolutely riddled with descriptions of roads taken and what all the scenery looks like taking said roads.

Do you know how many people I know who would tell me EVERY SINGLE ROAD they traveled down while telling me a story about something they did?

None.

It is not necessary to their story.

I would also end up slapping them if they did that.

To some degree, I understand. You read a lot of reviews where people said they bought the book because it was set in their home town, and they then point out every single discrepancy they came across that made the book unrealistic. They never mention the plot, just that the geography was wrong. Because that's all that matters in a book, right? So authors at least like to show that they've done their research.

Me? Give me a good story. All of the detail Robinson gave about which street the character was driving down could have been redirected to delivering a more exhilarating thriller.

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