Cleverness Has an Expiration Date

Great post from Jae at Lit and Scribbles, if you missed it earlier in the week.
I started reading Frankenstein a while ago and thought, “Wow, you can’t get away with that kind of exposition these days” before I gave up completely because I found it boring. Classics are classics for a reason, and they have great value; that doesn’t mean that because something has worked in the past (whether that’s 100 or 5 years ago), we can or should try to emulate it. Yes, Mary Shelley got away with starting with letters that had nothing to do with monsters. That doesn’t mean you should try it with a modern audience that has a thousand other (more compelling) books in your genre to choose from. Know why the old things work, and try something new.

(Yes, I know I just revealed something horrible about myself as a reader and as a person. I don’t have the attention span for many of the classics. I don’t need a book to start with explosions, and John Steinbeck can hook me with pages and pages of descriptions… but a lot of the old writing and the old gimmicks don’t grab me, and I have a lot of other books to read)

*runs and hides in the closet before the Classics Zealots can start hurling heavy, dusty volumes*

Lit and Scribbles with Jae

I’ve been watching a lot of stuff on Hulu lately (especially FMA, thanks a lot Gloria!), so I see way more commercials than I have in a long time—especially since I gave up cable.

I’ve noticed an interesting movement between two competitors, namely Geico and Progressive. They want your money, folks, and they don’t mind bombarding us with ads in the process. Let’s face it, now Hulu is a good chunk of their age range.

Now before you start to *yawn* and click to another page, understand there’s a lesson about cleverness here. And that lesson is, cleverness always has an expiration date. It just may last a little longer for some things than others.

PROGRESSIVE

I don’t even remember the days of Progressive before Flo. According to Wikipedia, she started making her appearance in 2008—and she’s still here 5 years later folks. (Though some are speculating she may…

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About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

3 responses to “Cleverness Has an Expiration Date

  • Green Embers

    You know funny enough.. I consider Frankenstein one of the easier classics to read, lol. But I agree with the premise, classics can be quite boring. Dickens is particularly hard for me to read, but he is intentionally wordy. Someone told me that he actually got paid by the word, I haven’t verified that or not so don’t know the veracity but judging by his books I believe it, lol.

  • Christi

    What worked in writing 150 years ago won’t work today, certainly. However, those authors opened doors for us that may not have been opened otherwise. Just like any other industry, the written word builds on and generally improves on what has come before. Great post!

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