Sunday, November 30, 2008

Old School Romance

I just finished Jayne Ann Krentz's Night of the Magician. The book was originally published in 1984. All the clothing descriptions are hilarious. Also, the main character lives in an apartment with peach carpet that "offset the white furniture perfectly." It cracked me up.

Reading this short romance, it made me realize how much romance itself has changed in the last twenty years. The main characters (women) want more from life than to be swept off their feet in today's books--in fact, most of the time they're doing an equal amount of sweeping. They're stronger, too. This main character was so constitutionally fragile she was frightened by a magic show. She also was overwhelmed with lust for a man fifteen years her senior. I don't find that often in the romance I read these days. Maybe I'm just not reading those books, but now the main characters typically seem to be within five years of each other's age. Just the whole dynamic between the characters made me marvel at how romance writers have had to adapt their stories and characters to changing cultural desires. Or maybe the authors changed right along with the rest of culture and never really thought about it. Now I need a romance author to interview.

The one thing that absolutely drove me nuts about this book hearkens back to a similar thing that drove me nuts about Nina Harper's Succubus in the City in my "The Importance of an Editor" post. Editors, or in this case, proofreaders, are very important!

This version of Night of the Magician was reprinted, and as we all know from personal experiences with computers, fonts don't always translate well from computer to computer. It's why experts tell you to put your resume in certain fonts--so that all computers read them correctly. Since this book was relaid out, this is where a proofreader would come into the picture, doing one final pass over the new layout to make sure it all looks good. This step either wasn't taken for this reprint, or something went wrong after the proofreader. Every instance of seance, which should have an accent over the first e, was printed as "s;aaeance." There were a lot of seances in the book, too!

It's little things like that--misspellings, typos, lack of quotes at the end of certain character's dialog on the first five pages--that takes a person out of the story and reminds them that they're reading, which is not often a good thing. Perhaps I should have titled this post "The Importance of Proofreaders" because proofreaders are very important, too! Go hug your nearest proofreader!

1 comment:

Kate said...

LOL! I bet the hairstyle descriptions were pretty hilarious, too.

The last romance I attempted to read--the last novel I attempted to read, for that matter--was one my mom has been raving about for years, Forever Amber. She finally gave it to me, and I started it while I was out on pre-baby leave. The first chapter is a detailed account of a very bad labor, to say the least. I decided to stop reading the book for the time being, and then...went into labor that afternoon myself! (And haven't read a novel since!)

Fortunately, my own labor went much better than poor Amber's mom. I'll check in with Amber soon.