Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When my reaction is “Meh,”

Last night the lovely Dr. Farish and I went out for dinner and a show. Being upper tier, almost aristocratic snobby types,

Like this, but in color, and I'm not the PM of England.

we usually hit the Roller Derby,
I'm the distinguished gentleman in the background.
but this time decided to break up the routine a bit and return to Medieval Madness. Think dinner theater, only far less scripted, the audience gets involved, it's set in the 1300's, there's actual sword-fights, and the food is actually quite good.

This will teach you to not take the last slice of roast beef again!

Oh yes, they have a LARGE selection of beer, ales, mead, and wine; inebriation is almost required. Dr. Farish and I have been there several times before, and it's always a fun experience. Last night, after the show, the wife and I talked to the owners/ main performers, and they asked what we thought of the new material they were trying out. It was tough to reply, did I have a good time? Yes, definitely. Will I return? Damn skippy. Would I recommend others to go? Yep.

But the new show was just okay in my mind. It wasn't bad, but for what ever reason if just did not make me laugh as much last night as in prior times. Perhaps it was me. Different things are more or less funny to me depending upon my mood. Worse there was no one thing I could really put my finger on, no one screwed up their lines, parts were quite good, the sword fight was the best I've seen, and I had a great seat for watching it. Food was great and there was enough of it, and I tried out a new beer which was very tasty. And yet....

Get to the point already!

Occasionally the same thing happens when I've been asked to critique a book. Now it is easy to give an honest and in-depth critique if the book is excellent, or if it's crappy. I've read books where the formatting had words all over the place, one where an entire chapter was repeated. There have been cases where there were so many typos, misspellings, and poorly constructed sentences, that I had to stop. I have run into stories that were two-dimensional, where it was all tell, and read like a giant run on sentences, devoid of emotion or movement.

This book needs a good burning!

Then there are more technical matters, where someone has a character jumping out of a jet going Mach-one, without a parachute only to land on a “just happened to be in the neighborhood,” blimp, and after subduing the entire, evil league of evil, crew with a toothpick and one liners, the hero lands in time to rescue the orphans from their burning building. Or the characters are sneaking into a hostile country on a super-classified, plausibly deniable, secret-squirrel mission, to take care of bad guys toting only US equipment, with their team logo “Good Guys Justice Society,” prominently displayed.

No one will ever guess it was us - totally super secret!

There is character development, where the MC is a bit of a dick, or goes out of his way to kick puppies, or has a back story either bland or incongruous to the situation, “Steve lost the bet, and sacrificed his parents on the blood stained alter of Frodo the Hobbit. He then went on to run the day care in a kind and loving manner, until he met Marissia, daughter of a billionaire who, after being tossed out of her last porn movie for being 'overly slutty' and filled to the gills with cheap tequila, just happened to clip Steve's car when he was at the Farmer's Market to buy fresh food for the children.”

That's an easy to critique story, but what do you do when you have finished the story and it's really not made any impression? When there was nothing wrong with the book, but it was just okay. You have no desire to prepare an auto-de-fe for the author, but at the same time the story did nothing for you? It's easy to spot mistakes, or poor character development, or even far to many pant-less clown jokes, but when the story was 'blah?'

Yeaaaa. I got nothing here man.
Those are the tough critiques for me. Perhaps it was just a one off, I was having a bad day, or was sleepy while reading or something. The only problem is I have very little desire to read the book a second time in order to give it a second chance. And so when the author inevitably asks “what did you think,” I have a tough time answering. I try to help, but it comes across more as bumbling Cthulhu chants that a coherent critique; when the story is just “meh,” there's not much advice I can give.

Now for a story that's really not “meh,” my book Junior Inquisitor.

Okay there is one 3 star rating, but there's 30 five-star ratings.

It's got the thrills you crave.

Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC

Google Play - http://goo.gl/g2kNPa

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