Heart Shaped Box critique

Joe's first novel.

Heart Shaped Box critique

Postby skeeterfitz on Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:56 pm

Just finished book in one night read. Obviously liked it. Distractions interrupt story however when it delves into specifics of cars and guns which Joe is obviously unfamiliar with. Revolvers don't have safeties. The AR 15 does not fire a British bullet. No engine ever available in the Mustang had more than one crank. These lapses cause the reader to question the validity of the story line which Joe has crafted so well to that point. I hope he will enlist a proof reader in the future familiar with any specialty areas he plans to delve into, and do away with these distractions in what was otherwise a really engaging story.
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Postby meridith on Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:30 pm

although I tend not to notice details like that (especially since I know nothing about cars or guns), apparently others do! I copied/pasted "Revolvers don't have safetys" :D and came up with this interesting article as the first link:

REAL REVOLVERS DON'T WEAR SAFETIES Firearms Information For Writers - And Readers

Personally, I read past those type of details....interesting though!
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Postby meridith on Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:35 pm

I figure every book has factual errors like that. For example I've seen things in books that list mental health disorders that no longer exist or the name is way off, or the treatment or description is just weird....course the only reason I would know is my training etc. I would bet nurses/doctors find medical errors all the time in books (they probably hate watching ER!!), just about every profession I'm sure finds something thats way off. it would be hard to get someone from each specialty to proofread a book to get it completely error free......

just my own 2 cents. everyone has their own opinion of course!
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Postby Betsy_Boo on Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:36 am

Yeah...I didn't notice the errors either. I'm actually glad I don't know anything about cars/guns because if there were errors I guess it would've pulled me out of the story, too. I used to play violin and whenever I see someone in a movie pretending to play a violin it drives me nuts 'cause I can tell they are faking. Probably most people wouldn't notice it.

And I agree with you meridith...a lot of books have errors in them, and not just factual. The ones that drive me the most crazy are the ones with typos. That's just ridiculous. But I can cut some slack on factual errors because your average proof reader can't possibly catch everything.
"We'll always have Paris."

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Article

Postby skeeterfitz on Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:39 am

Thanks for the article, Meredith. It was funny; which is of course what you want to avoid in the midst of an action horror scene. The writer had a good point in that it's better to skip details unless you understand them, lest you end up with the survival of a character hinging on the function of a safety which doesn't exist.

This is not a dig at Joe. Just something I hope he'll take into account in his next book, which I look forward to.
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Postby Michael_D on Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:21 am

Well, one way to look at it is that when a writer is creating a story, he's also creating the world the story takes place in. If there are small errors like that, just assume that in the world the writer has created they're true.
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Postby sybil on Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:46 pm

good point, michael.
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Postby meridith on Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:57 pm

exaaaaaaaaaactly (said like Homer Simpson)

:D

Michael D wrote:Well, one way to look at it is that when a writer is creating a story, he's also creating the world the story takes place in. If there are small errors like that, just assume that in the world the writer has created they're true.
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Heart Shaped Box critique

Postby skeeterfitz on Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:39 pm

Of course Michael, the writer's ability to create a world that the reader can inhabit for the duration of the book rests in tying it to known realities the reader can identify with. Joe's proposition on the abilities of the dead, which is forever an unknown, gains credibility if all of the knowns associated with it are credible.
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Re: Heart Shaped Box critique

Postby Michael_D on Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:15 pm

skeeterfitz wrote:Of course Michael, the writer's ability to create a world that the reader can inhabit for the duration of the book rests in tying it to known realities the reader can identify with. Joe's proposition on the abilities of the dead, which is forever an unknown, gains credibility if all of the knowns associated with it are credible.


True, but if you enjoyed the book, why not just let little inconsistencies with the way things really are go. Every writer bends the truth to aid their story, even Joe's dad is guilty of altering real world facts to better fit his books. My stance is that in the case of fiction, if there's a few facts that don't exactly jive with the way things really are, it's acceptable, as long as the book is a good read. If you don't like the book though, then I say you should go through it and find every bit of it that doesn't make sense and use it to fuel your hatred.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:17 pm

Now Michael D. I don't think skeeter meant anything hateful by his observations. I just think some people are more detailed oriented, especially if it's in an area that interests them. So, when something stands out as not the norm in their field of interest, they might not be able to get past it and suspend disbelief.

I agree with you myself, that an author is making up a world and so has the right to change it anyway he or she sees fit. I jumped on someone once because of something similar, but I made myself take a look at the individual needs of the reader. Everyone takes different things from a story and focuses on different details.

I think he was just discussing his own personal hang ups with the story. I didn't have any myself. At least I hope skeeter was being respectful in his comments.
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Postby Michael_D on Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:46 pm

I hope he didn't think I was attacking him or anything. I really didn't mean it to sound like that. I get his point, and wasn't bashing him. I was just trying to say that if there is a book you do hate, not HSB, then you should feel free to bash it for all it's worth, but if you like HSB, like skeeter obviously does, I think it's best to just look over any small flaws. That's all I meant. No harm. :)
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Postby Dana_Jean on Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:40 pm

It's cool Michael D. I just wanted skeet to know it was okay to not see eye to eye on things. I hope you didn't think I was ragging on you.
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Heart Shaped Box critique

Postby skeeterfitz on Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:45 pm

No offense taken. Don't think I would have given those things a second thought if I hadn't been surprised by how much I liked Joe's writing. My son brought the book home and I read it for lack of something else to read. I had never heard of him and never read much of his Dad's except his book on writing (which is very good). For me the things I mentioned were kind of like potholes on a scenic highway. You hope DOT fixes them so on your next trip nothing will detract from the view. I do hope to make a return trip to Joe's writing.
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Re: Heart Shaped Box critique

Postby Michael_D on Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:00 pm

skeeterfitz wrote: I do hope to make a return trip to Joe's writing.

20th Century Ghosts is amazing!
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