At the urging of my boyfriend, Chi Chi and numerous others, I've finally started reading Ms. Rice's magnum opus, THE WITCHING HOUR. I've never read any of her witch-related books, only the vampire ones.
In my own (unfinished) novel, I stand behind my recent decision to leave out a large backstory section on my principle character. All that backstory was self-indulgent, it slowed the action and my manuscript is now much better as a result of cutting the fat. Besides, it's the mark of superior writing to weave in relevant backstory details in more subtle, interesting ways during later chapters.
So imagine my surprise then at being confronted with some 40+ pages of mostly irrelevant backstory on the character of Michael Curry no less than thirty pages into the book. What was Anne Rice thinking? It became clear that she never wasted a SINGLE SENTENCE of her rough drafts, no matter how much it weighs down the art like an anvil strapped to the reader's ankle. Of course not having finished the book I can't say for certain which details of all that flatulent backstory are important and which aren't, but there is no way all that minutia can possibly be pertinent to the plot.
Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. Mind you I do enjoy melodramatic, wordy, flowery prose and soap opera. But come on.
That said, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the descriptions of the old New Orleans townhouse/mansion (its crumbling beauty -- how gorgeous!), the Garden District and San Francisco. Ms. Rice really loves these places so much that the locales become characters themselves in the story. I really admire that and emulate that quality in my own work.
Now, when do I get to meet Lasher? ....
(to be continued)