Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sunday Salon: Can we please lose some adjectives?

I have just finished a doorstop of a book. 487 pages to be exact.
I won't bore you with the problems I had with the plot or the court room ending that simply wasn't credible.

What I want to talk about today is why this book was over-long. It's something that seems to be occuring more often recently.

The over-use of adjectives. An example from the book I read recently:
She took two of the upturned glasses standing on the crisp white towel on the black marble counter and poured them both a drink before gliding across the room, extendingher long slender arm and handing him his water."

Oh pu-lease. It was such an inconsequential bit of trivia in the book, yet the author made a 3 course meal out of it. She handed him a glass of water would have sufficed.

So why are is this happening in books? Is it an attempt to make them thick and seem like value for money for the reader (new paperbacks in Australia cost in the region of $33)?

Is it the fault of the writer, who doesn't know when to stop?
Or the publishers and the editors who let the books be published without asking for cuts?
Or is it an uncritical buying public who seem to go on buying and buying ?
There are a few authors who are huge these days whose work seems to have gone downhill, yet their books keep selling.

Any thoughts on this phenomenom?