Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Gifted and Talented by Wendy Holden

Isabel stared out of the train window.

In this opening line there is nothing but a name and a window. No conflict here, it's not even dramatic. It is not special, odd, or out of the ordinary. So this line is an epic fail and will hook no one except people called Isabel and window cleaners - and that's being optimistic or even naive. The next line:

The English fields flashed by, sometimes with cows in, sometimes sheep, sometimes nothing but a couple of troughs or an oak tree with russet-leaved branches.

This line is setting and contains errors in parallel structure. The cows are in what? And why aren't the sheep in too? Then the final paragraph of this spectacularly boring paragraph:

Beneath the surface of the fields the ancient plough and furrow pattern rippled like the sea.

How can plough patterns be beneath the surface of a field? Are they not what would define the surface of the field, or am I missing something?

The first sentence of the second paragraph:

Isabel glanced at the man and woman opposite.

Opposite what, the field? The cows? Or could it be that they are opposite her? Readers will need to rely more on their brains and powers of inference to figure out what is going on rather than on the writer's writing abilities. There are many more examples of poor sentence structure in this work that would get a C or D in any middle school program.

Emotion is expressed, funnily enough by characters blinking hard. They do a lot of hard blinking.

First thing said:

"Every room's got central heating and there's a laundry and kitchen at the end of every corridor."

As this is a romance novel, proper syntax and clarity is obviously not necessary when it comes to expressing the flavors of the heart.

Verdict: Epic Fail

Rudy Globird

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