Monday, November 22, 2010

Robert B. Parker – HUNDRED-DOLLAR BABY (2006)

Learning From the Best

I love Robert B. Parker's unique voice. All writers should study him to find how colorful clean narrative and dialog can be. He proves a one-word sentence can wield a lot of power.

Reading Parker is a learning experience in how to do it right, however I plan to use the following observations of Hundred-Dollar Baby to improve my own writing.

  1. Parker's greatest strength lies in his characters. Spenser, Susan, and Hawk spring to life, however I feel Parker relied too heavily on dialog and situation, and left out a level of action the characters needed.
  2. Word choice – I love Parker's use of language. He proves on every page simple, clean narrative propels a story. In BABY, he did an excellent job juxtaposing simple language with Susan's PhD vocabulary.
  3. Dialog – second only to his characterization, Parker excels at using realistic and entertaining dialog. However in this novel, he relied on it too heavily. The best dialog with two characters sitting and talking, is still two characters sitting and talking. I'll take dialog creatively woven into the action any day.
  4. Timeline – I found the transition from winter to spring in BABY spread out the limited action. The same action over a series of days would have given the impression of more action.
  5. POV – Limited point of view propels the reader's empathy and limits her scope of interest. However, if the MC is only observing and reacting, the use of a limited view detracts. This reader requires the MC to be in the center of the action, not reacting to or relating what others do. I want the MC to be creating the plot.
Write Every Day!

Regards,
Mac

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