Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Succinct

To be succinct and complex at the same time is a stunt that I can’t master on either spectrum. It takes the strongest intellect to drive across his point with only a few words, and the master of that art would be a man I wish to see.

There has been a revolution in the book world, the origin of which I am uncertain—but find myself straying a suspicious eye towards Dean Koontz—in which one word titles reign. Go into a book store and search out the newer sections; the romance or teen angst should do. Scan a glance across the shelves and see what you notice? Reading the titles takes absolutely no effort.

Twilight, Shattered, The Unnamed, The Help, Sizzle, and so on and so forth. Play a game and pick up a dictionary. First one to find a heading for every word wins. I do not know how this trend started. I am fully aware of why.

Honestly, Twilight probably caught so many people’s eye for its enigma. The non-descriptive cover and name say absolutely nothing on what to expect. I mean, why read something if you already know what it’s going to be about? All jokes aside, this tact has been a successful one. So to criticize these authors for making the choice of the minimal is not something that I want, nor wish to do.

 However.

Being one for variation, I really have to ask myself if they think that they are achieving what they strove for. Clearly it is an attempt to be dark, mysterious, enhancing a secret we can only hope is "depth." Yet, I do not find myself drawn to these books in any way. Shattered? It sounds as though the author was trying to be nihilist, philosophical, intelligent even, but is probably stretching it. It seems unlikely to be about anything shattered, odds are it only has a vague reference, and I often will not even understand the connection until I make a very long point to think about it. And, for that matter, since when do I care about breaking things? That title says to me that something was destroyed. That does tend to happen in stories. Although if I really wanted to know about violence, I’d read the police blotter.

My friends and I had a game called “Rename Twilight,” in which you pick a book that you both know and one of you says either a word, or an adjective and a noun, and the other one explains how it is a metaphor to the book. For example, Red Chair.

Red is the color of passion, of blood. It shows the love that Edward sees for Bella, and references  blushing, a clear indication, and contrast, that she is living. A chair is something you can put your weight on, that you can depend on. Bella sits on Edward, leaning on him for support. She needs him.

It's important to note that the author's original title was Forks. I’m absolutely certain Stephanie Meyer's editor pushed the new title because she liked the way it sounded, not as a reference to anything. At the end, for two seconds, they really strive to explain the title, saying, “Twilight is the only time we can be safe,” or whatever.

Does no one care about their names anymore? I mean, we work so hard on a book and then plaster it with a word that we believed is simply pretty? It’s not that I criticize anyone for not concerning themselves with the name of their book. I mean, there are many people who have so much in the actual writing that it’s not something they stress themselves with. Yet the one word approach feels as though they were trying, but not trying hard enough to think of anything really meaningful and clever, just something that kind of sounded like it was.