Friday, December 22, 2006

Reading as a Writer - A Christmas Carol

Okay, I just had the weirdest experience. I LOVE the Charles Dicken's tale, A Christmas Carol.

To elucidate.... I'm one of those really geeky people who can do comparative analysis about the movie versions based on who starred as Scrooge. There's the Reginald Owen version (1938), the Albert Finney musical version (Scrooge -1970), the definitive Alastair Sims version (1951), etc.

Every so often I return to the book to READ it. This time, I received a visitation from the Ghost of Critique Writers. The ghost who is normally invisible except when you pick up an old favorite to read and he whispers in your ear about how someone could have written something better. Now this is Charles Dickens I'm reading. Right? Widely famed in song and story.

So I curl up to enjoy a good book but as I'm reading through chapter one, I think, "Damn Chuck, what voice is this?" I think it was third person omniscient, but I'm not completely sure. Took me right out of the story. Well, crap.

I push past the Ghost (who is giggling by the way) and keep reading. Well, Dickens digresses maundering about in Scrooge's mind. Okay, keep going. Then I get to a couple of beautifully written paragraphs about the London fog. Though they help to set the tone, these paragraphs in no way advance the story. What are they doing there? Dickens wrote for Londoners. They already knew what the fog was like....

I stopped reading. The Ghost was laughing maniacally by now. I am cursed. Doomed to forever read Dickens like a modern writer. Sigh. I guess I'll just stick to the movies from now on...

Merry Christmas, gov'nor. Merry Christmas!

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