Sunday, September 21, 2008

Here's another thing I hate...

I'm having such fun ranting! I think we will call this The Ranting Series. I'm sure I can keep it going for quite some time.

This is a writing-related one again, luckily, what with this being a writing-related blog and all. I think.

I cannot stand...when the title of a novel is followed by the words 'A Novel'. As in 'The Story of Pluhjibberycasket. A Novel.' Also 'A Novel by...'. As in 'The Leap Over Frisquagibbet Canyon. A Novel by Persephone Plasket Hughes'.

Usually when I pick up a novel I find most of the clues pointing to it being a novel are obvious enough for me not to need to be told. Often, novels are found in the fiction department, because they are, wait for it, fictional novels (heh heh). In most cases a quick scan of the blurb at the back provides more handy clues that the story within is unlikely to reflect reality (normally particularly obvious in the fantasy genre). Some authors helpfully point out that events and persons in the book are in no way related to real events or people (although am I alone in reading that as a clue that they just might be? Whoops, do you think Aunty Meg will spot that Mrs Jones is based on her, complete with hairy mole, six fingers on her left hand and nasty scratching habit? Hm, better put in that handy disclaimer.)

As for 'A Novel by...'. You are not Jane Austen or any of the Brontes. Really, you're not. This is archaic, unnecessary and, to me, the height of pretension. OK, I might let some elite authors get away with it, but it doesn't mean I'm going to like it. As for the rest of us. No. Don't do it.

The next episode of The Ranting Series will feature double barrelled names. Oooh, don't get me started on double barrelled names...

Feel free to rant on this or any other topic in the comments.

12 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Can I jump for joy instead? Just back from a Writer's Retreat and the visiting editor requested my manuscript!

Now I gotta finish writing it!!!

McKoala said...

Absolutely! Congratulations and get to work!

pacatrue said...

I understand where you are coming from: A comment.

Conduit said...

Isn't actually sort of traditional for American publishers to stick "a novel" on the cover of books? I think I read that somewhere the other day. It's rare for UK publishers to do it, apparently, but it's the norm in the US. Some of our American friends can correct me if I've got that wrong.

In my promo stuff, I'm putting "a novel by" on everything, but it's purely to make it clear that GHOSTS is not an album, a song, a website about spooks, or any of that. I don't imagine it'll be on the cover (not that it'll be up to me).

pacatrue said...

I see it most often when the title itself isn't particularly titley. I don't think you see The Tale of Genji: A Novel, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Novel very much. But you do see it with with vague titles or titles where the referred to item is often not novel material like:

Hope: A Novel
Scotland: A Novel
Blue Jeans: A Novel

Hm. I think I'm going to go write a novel now about my pants.

Ello said...

Damn, Paca beat me to the sarcastic comment.

How about if I just add a novelist after my name?

Ello, a novelist. how does that sound? ;o)

Whirlochre said...

I hate it when a book hits the shelves, already labelled 'his/her new bestseller.'

McKoala said...

Oh, Paca, I might find that funnier if you hadn't just started SPORTS WEEK over at the quiz! There is no better way to end the Koala's run at the top...

Conduit, are you telling me I have to let the entire US publishing industry off the hook? Bah. No.

Ello, a novelist, sounds perfect!

Yes, Whirl, yes! You've got the idea. Me too. How can it be a bestseller if it hasn't sold any yet? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Robin S. said...

This is a freakin' hoot - and I vote you keep on keepin' on with the ranting.

blogless troll said...

I agree with Robin.

laughingwolf said...

agreed

i see its use as part of 'marketing' by the publisher, so THEY know what it is, i guess....

sylvia said...

This could get messy fast!

Writing a Novel: A Novel by a Novelist.

I like your rants!