Saying adios to what we knew and embraced as key parts of our culture, is hard.
Once I was entranced by novel openings that drew me slowly into the setting, plot and characters. Today, the with-it author’s task: grab the reader by the throat on page one and drag her along on a nonstop action-packed, exciting journey.
Primeval culture allowed writers to shanghai multiple paragraphs (even pages) to explain historical, technological and/or psychological elements. Critics, editors, and readers skip those pages today and deride authors for info-dumping.
Lengthy chapters frustrate the internet generation who have limited scraps of time to read. So we accommodate, designing short scenes and tidy sentences (hasta la vista labyrinthine or periodic). Phrases as sentences. Single words as sentences. Spare blogs, like this one.
Reminds me of my recent goodbye to my lawn. By origin, I am a Midwestern gal, used to acres of lush, green lawn showcasing every home.
Now a part time resident of California, I must let go of a thirsty, high-maintenance lawn, no matter how much I love the look of it. As incentive, my CA county paid me a dollar a foot to get rid of my grass, barely covering the demolition bill. We’ve put in eighteen solar panels and we take quick showers.
Being a good citizen comes with cost.
Alas, nothing is like it was, but we must move on. Drought resistant plants and readers pressed by time presently rule our world.
As much as I know adjustments must be made by authors and homeowners, I feel a little sad for our loss. Playing and rolling in the grass?
A long, rich, high-tea of a novel’s introduction?
Bitter sweet adieus.