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Book Discussions > Ever read enough books that you begin to see patterns?

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message 1: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
I just finished Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I noticed something. Not really about the book, but about books and authors and writing styles in general.

I find that, no matter how creative and fanciful a plot may be, I just cannot make myself love a book if it's written in a dry and boring manner.

I have read well over 300 books (that may seem unimpressive to some of you, but c'mon!! I'm only 14, I haven't even been reading for a full decade yet!! Cut me some slack, y'alls) and I'm kinda of starting to be able to distinguish between This Uber-Boring Book and This Awesomely Fantastic Book.

And I am confusing some of you...*sigh*...what I mean is, when I was 9 and reading The Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and Baby Mouse and stuff like that, I never really gave thought to whether it was a good book or not; I just read it.

Now that I've truly awakened my inner bibliophile, I can tell which books I hate and which ones I love.

I don't know. I wanted to start a discussion thread about an idea that popped into my head at 4 in the morning. I'm tired and incoherent. This thread is pointless; go nuts and talk about baby squirrels, it makes more sense than what I'm trying to say.....I think.....*she says as she falls asleep at the keyboard*.....


message 2: by Becky (new)

Becky (heartilly) | 7 comments I dunno if it's quite what you mean but I do find myself increasingly being able to predict plot twists and what will happen in a book and stuff, which I guess is being able to see patterns and stuff... but yeah I can usually tell fairly early on if a book is one that's the style I like and will keep me interested or if it's one that will bore me throughout.

Also - BABY SQUIRRELS!!! SO CUTE!!! ... ahem. :)


message 3: by Ansareen (new)

Ansareen (ahass35) that happens to me soo much. Like u hust know wat will happen, I like wen the author does somethin differant=)
Has anyone ever noticed how all the SARA DESSON boks start sounding the same after a while?


message 4: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
Ansareen wrote: "that happens to me soo much. Like u hust know wat will happen, I like wen the author does somethin differant=)
Has anyone ever noticed how all the SARA DESSON boks start sounding the same after a ..."


I noticed that after reading all of the book summaries. "Girl moves into new town, girl meets boy with issues, girl and boy get together...." Yadda yadda blah blah. I TOTALLY noticed that. I have read 3 of Dessen's books so far, and you are right, they are all the SAME O_o


message 5: by Ansareen (new)

Ansareen (ahass35) Faize wrote: "Ansareen wrote: "that happens to me soo much. Like u hust know wat will happen, I like wen the author does somethin differant=)
Has anyone ever noticed how all the SARA DESSON boks start sounding ..."


=) I told my friend that and shes like: "No they're
NOTHING alike!" =/


message 6: by Martha (new)

Martha  (theshortone08) Becky wrote: "I dunno if it's quite what you mean but I do find myself increasingly being able to predict plot twists and what will happen in a book and stuff, which I guess is being able to see patterns and stu..."

Yes same here! If something comes up that really surprises me then that's a shocker but I can usually tell whats going to happen.


message 7: by Ellese (new)

Ellese (FaithfulUmbrella) | 54 comments Haha oh no hun, you are not crazy. There are definitely patterns in books. Many books are written alike because, literature has to follow a semblance of a plan. If you write poetry? It can be in meter, rhyme, sound the same, or dissonant. The point is, there are different ways to write something.

Something else you will notice, is how a story takes place. What I mean by that is you might start guessing what will happen, or have a serious feeling of deja vu or some such nonsense.

Now I feel as if I am not making sense...point is, as you get older and more educated, you will start to see these things not only in books, but in everything. But books for sure, have patterns, parallel story arcs, same characters, same worlds. It is odd to think of it, but when you read so many books they all do start to blend and sound familiar.

Does any of that make sense or even sound on topic??


message 8: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
I know!!! I knew you guys would see my point:)

Pretty soon you start noticing trends in certain books you read; that way, when you finish a book that doesn't follow the set paradigm, it's like, "WHOAAAAAAAA, my new favorite book!!"

:D


message 9: by Hud-c (new)

Hud-c | 438 comments Hey Faize, about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I have the same thoughts. It reminded me of some books I've read before. Some scenes, I even felt, it was ripped out of a book I'd already read.

Sharing my point of view, the more we read, the more we aren't surprise or easily please at all. Specially when one reads a specific genre or the same author. You get a certain pattern on the story, the same style of writing.

I don't know if this would help, but I try to read different genre from time to time so I wouldn't experience the "burn-out syndrome".

And I just got a question, have you ever experience reading something highly recommended to you but you can't just go on, because you feel the "burn-out", and then you stop reading and then wonder if you didn't felt that way that time, you think you could enjoy the book?


message 10: by Ansareen (new)

Ansareen (ahass35) Hud-c wrote: "Hey Faize, about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I have the same thoughts. It reminded me of some books I've read before. Some scenes, I even felt, it was ripped out of a book I'd alre..."

omg, yeah! i was reading SOMEONE LIKE YOU, felt the burn out, so i just stopped reading it.=(


message 11: by Ellese (last edited Oct 09, 2012 08:35PM) (new)

Ellese (FaithfulUmbrella) | 54 comments Hud-c wrote: "Hey Faize, about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I have the same thoughts. It reminded me of some books I've read before. Some scenes, I even felt, it was ripped out of a book I'd alre..."

I totally know what you mean about the whole burnout syndrome...I'm just now recovering from it. A book I discovered (while at work, which happens to be a highschool) called Wings Wings (Wings, #1) by Aprilynne Pike...no, I had never heard of it before this but now I am already 100 some odd pages in and actually enjoying it...

Soooo hooray for getting my reading groove back, well hopefully back :D


message 12: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
YES, I know exactly what you're talking about, Nej! Ahhh.....like-mindedness is so refreshing sometimes....:D


message 13: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
I've read Wings, Ellese! It was...well, it wasn't EXACTLY like other YA books I'd read. The heroine didn't annoy me half to death. But my reaction to the book in general is "eh..." Wasn't too memorable to me.

Actually, one of my many book-reading philosophies is that the HORRIBLE AWFUL CRINGE-INDUCING I-WANT-TO-KILL-IT-WITH-FIRE type books are in fact better than the mediocre ones. Because at least they're memorable. I think one of the worst reactions an author can get from a reader is if they think the book is "Okay" and then forget about it the next day.


message 14: by Hud-c (new)

Hud-c | 438 comments Its great to know people who experienced the same situation as mine.

Speaking of annoyance, do you still continue to read a novel or series with a really good plot but the heroine or a certain character/villain actually makes your blood boils and makes you want to spit fire?

Mine will be Chaos Walking trilogy, hate Tod a lot in some scenes.

And of course, House of Night, don't ask why if you have read it, I think you'll have the same sentiments.


message 15: by Cassandra (last edited Oct 11, 2012 01:04AM) (new)

Cassandra Giovanni | 156 comments This happens a lot it seems, for example look at the dystopian genre. There are books that are almost scary similar. I.E, Hunger Games and Divergent, but then it becomes the norm and some expect that out of the genre. As an author it's frustrating because when you write something different than the norm, you get those that wanted the norm and then you get those that love it because it was different. There will always be those that don't like a novel, but once I read that storyline once, I don't want to read it again--let alone write it. Alas, writing has been around for a long time, so I suppose that there can always be similarities that the authors don't know of because they never read that other book.


message 16: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (RichardSutton) Good discussion. Of course, the more we read, the more similarities we will see, just from our common human experiences, but I believe there is another component that may be even stronger in its effect.

What sells is what is picked up.

Has anyone else noticed how all of a sudden, urban erotica is on the charts? With readership and sales down, several years in a row, and costs rising, publishers are pressed into having to be much more selective, with the bottom line often the most important consideration. They are, after all, businesses, not social or educational institutions. If a debut author can demonstrate the ability to find readers in a genre/trope that is working for sales, they are closer to a contract than someone with a wonderful, new... but unproven idea. No wonder every young woman we read about is sporting archery skills.


message 17: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz (goodreadscomdale_ibitz) There are definitely patterns. If I'm surprised by a twist or something I just didn't see coming, that book will almost always get a 4 or 5 star rating. Many books are, indeed, predictable. If you are reading romance, for example, you kind of know before you even crack the book open that girl meets boy, they have copious amounts of miscommunication and misunderstandings, and then bam! live happily ever after. Some books are expected to have a patter...but it's how you get there that you want to be surprised.

I've never even heard of urban erotica!!!!


message 18: by Ansareen (new)

Ansareen (ahass35) Hud-c wrote: "Its great to know people who experienced the same situation as mine.

Speaking of annoyance, do you still continue to read a novel or series with a really good plot but the heroine or a certain ch..."



yes! in Blood Red Road I like the main character but at the same time I hate her cuz shes soooo stubborn


message 19: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany McFly (tiffmcfly) I actually learned about this in English class in like 11th grade, I believe.

We got a hand out about how many stories have the same structure but the major details (like location, names &c.) are changed.

I forgot what two stories she used as an example. I believe it was Harry Potter and The Lion King.

Everything is fine until their parent(s) die (Mr & Mrs Potter/Mufasa), a dark force rises (Scar/Voldemort) as the main character is sent away (Hogwarts/The Jungle area). There the main character meets two companions that help when there's danger (Ron & Hermione/Timon & Pumba). It's up to the main character to overpower the dark power. &c. &c.

Something along those lines. I hope that was understandable lol


message 20: by Hud-c (last edited Oct 14, 2012 06:19PM) (new)

Hud-c | 438 comments Richard wrote: "What sells is what is picked up.
..."


I totally agree. Erotica is the trend now. I have acquaintances and friends who bought and read 50shades because of the bandwagon effect.

But, as for me, haven't tried reading that one. Nothing against erotica, but there are books I deemed as worth reading first. :D

Tiffany wrote: "I actually learned about this in English class in like 11th grade, I believe.

We got a hand out about how many stories have the same structure but the major details (like location, names &c.) are ..."


Now that you mention it. You're definitely right about HP and Lion King.


message 21: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz (goodreadscomdale_ibitz) I did hear in one of my college courses that there are only so many original story structures out there...everything written today can be found in the last 100 years. Basically what Tiffany said. Most plot-driven stories follow a sequence of events, a certain structure needs to be followed to engage the reader.

With that being said, the trick is to find a *new* way of telling the same story...and it's the authors that have found a fresh and exciting way to tell the story that we fall in love with.


message 22: by Hud-c (new)

Hud-c | 438 comments Dale wrote: "I did hear in one of my college courses that there are only so many original story structures out there...everything written today can be found in the last 100 years. Basically what Tiffany said. M..."

Well said. Nothing is really original.

Just a thought, if it is so... then some authors are guilty of plagiarism? What do you think?


message 23: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
Well, E.L. James, of course, with her Twilight fanfic:)

I think authors, if they are trying to do something that "has never been done before," that they should really take the time thinking of a unique plotline, and the ENDING!! My gosh, is the ending ever so important. I was just discussing this with a friend yesterday; if, in any book/film the ending is a happy ending, then it most likely sucks. Because (a) life isn't like that. There's rarely such a thing as happily ever after. And (b) it's almost completely unjustified. I'm not against happy endings, but they have to belong where they're put and they rarely ever do.

Authors shouldn't cater the masses of readers; they should write the story that they were meant to write, regardless of whether or not it's marketable to a large enough reader group. My opinion, at least. New AND creative stories are so scarce these days that I'm kind of starting to delve into some older literature (I mean like 18th century stuff) because back then the way of life was different, their views and societies were like a 180 flip from where we are now. Therefore, their stories would probably have that extra otherworldness that I've been craving:)

All while I'm waiting for that dern NEW novel to come out that will undoubtedly floor me and leave me shocked, speechless, and in awe................still waiting.......


message 24: by Sharon (new)

Sharon | 17 comments Faize wrote: "Well, E.L. James, of course, with her Twilight fanfic:)

I think authors, if they are trying to do something that "has never been done before," that they should really take the time thinking of a u..."


The ENDING, a very important part of the story. A reader can be left with a smile on their face, tears in their eyes, up in the air, frustrated or just plain let down. I just finished a story (great story) where one of the main characters died at the end. I cried however I still enjoyed the story. I do prefer to have a smile on my face at the end, makes me feel good. When you are waiting to go in to see a movie at the cinema and the session before you is just finished, look at the faces of the people who are leaving to see if they are smiling, crying or bewildered. The smiles are the best. I guess it may start with children's stories, it breaks your heart to see your children crying. Far better to make them smile although, as you say that just isn't life. Having said all that, fiction for me is escapism. Non fiction is life.


message 25: by Hud-c (new)

Hud-c | 438 comments Faize wrote: "Authors shouldn't cater the masses of readers; they should write the story that they were meant to write, regardless of whether or not it's marketable to a large enough reader group. My opinion, at least. ...."

Reading your opinion Faize, Hunger Games just crossed my mind specifically the last book. The ending wasn't great for a lot of readers because it seems anticlimactic. And I felt that way too. But now, I seem to understand that it could be as it is. As you point out, "Because life isn't like that".


Still, its up to the readers perspectives, how he/she will accept an ending of a book. We have different tastes, backgrounds and beliefs as well. That goes to show, how diverse we all are. And there will be no one perception that can behold/apply to any story. As for me, its okay to have an HEA like from those sort of fairy tales we're so engrossed when we were children and sometimes, it's okay to have those sad endings.

Happiness and pain are major ingredients of the real world. I believe in that their like pieces of a puzzle; they all come together. So those books we've read are fiction, but they have basis in real life - the emotions of the characters.

wooo, i don't know where i'm going now with this discussion. I'm babbling. :)


message 26: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (Faize) | 1090 comments Mod
Babble away, Nej! You know I love pointless jibber-jabber:D

Oh, but it wasn't pointless, I get what you mean. Ahhhhhhh.....you know what, AUTHORS: do what seems right for you, and screw everything else:)


message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (RichardSutton) Dale wrote above about there being a finite number of story lines, or what may also be called tropes, in human experience. I can't expect any author to break completely new ground, but at least, I expect a book to be written in such a way that the characters are accessible and that the story isn't buried beneath so much surrealism or star-wars Sfx that I can't follow.

That said, there is a lot of room left, even within relatively narrow fan-genres, to create something unique. I know quite a few authors, and if it was as easy as "do whatever works for you and screw everyone else", we'd all be household names and the topic of every dinner conversation. The truth is that once the publisher (or author and their helpers, if they are Indies...)has done the best they can to make sure the book is really market-worthy, the readers will decided if it will be a success or be relegated to the mid-list pile and sold off at the local library with the rest of the overstocks. It is always a risky business and no matter how much homework you do before a launch, it's not about your marketing skill, after all. It's all about the readers.


message 28: by Dale (new)

Dale Ibitz (goodreadscomdale_ibitz) I agree with a lot of this. Ending is uber important. I like the endings that have me floored. I love the ending I didn't see coming. While I don't necessarily love happy endings, in some genres they're expected...like romance.

Being unique is important. the author have to find a fresh approach, and while the story line may be one we've seen before, the *story* isn't (I think that answers the plagiarism question).

But wait, there's more!

The author also has to engage the reader, like Richard said...it's all about the reader. It takes a combination of just the right events to make the next hit (good writing, great characters, and timing), and I think it's unpredicatble.


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