The Hunger Games has so much potential. I keep wishing that it was written by someone else, someone who knows how to construct a sentence, preferably.
Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not such a stickler for grammar that I believe you have to be technically perfect in prose. I would not enjoy literature, if that were the case. But to be a good writer, I truly believe that you must deeply understand the structures and systems of your language, and I don't think that Suzanne Collins does.
English teachers often say something along the lines of, "You can't break the rules until you know them." And they are right. It is not until you have a true grasp on grammar that you can stray from the rules and still be intelligible. To me, that is ultimately the most important rule for writers: be clear.
I am a very concise writer. My academic papers are never the required number of pages. Ever. You want 20 pages? I'm giving you 17. Max. I spend a lot of time carefully crafting each sentence so that I never have to say the same thing twice. Being grammatically correct allows me to get my point across in a simple, readable manner. There's no bull-shitting or rambling (I save that for my blog), just digestible information.
On the other hand, I understand that being grammatically incorrect allows writers to develop their style and voice. Good writers can write technically terrible sentences and still get their point across, in a pretty way, no less. Fragments, for example, can be stylish and useful. I use them a lot myself. So does Suzanne Collins. But the problem is that her use of fragments is not stylish--it's sloppy. I frequently have to reread her paragraphs to figure out what it is she's trying to say. And that is one of my biggest aggravations with the trilogy: it is rushed and messy. It lacks so much.
The thing is, I actually really like the idea of The Hunger Games -- its plot and themes, and the dystopian setting, which is SO HOT RIGHT NOW (at least in my opinion). But that is why it is so utterly disappointing. I feel like a great idea has been wasted. And, perhaps more importantly, so has my time.
Yet, for some unknown reason (or because I liked the first movie), I'm finishing the series. I'm halfway through Mockingjay, and frustrated and disgusted enough to spend an hour writing this post (seriously, one hour), but alas, I persist. I can't wait until it's over.
Read this. It's much, much better.