You can do worse than learn to write fiction from an author who has sold over 300 million books in his career.
That’s how I picked up Honeymoon from James Patterson. I subscribed to his video Masterclass about writing novels. In preparation for the course, I was informed that this book is the one that is used for a lot of the coursework from an example point of view, so I decided that before I went too far into the class,I should at least read the book.
I’d be interested to see where Patterson rates Honeymoon in the ranks of the myriad of novels that he has produced over the years. Being the first of his novels that I’ve read, I have to admit that while I was impressed, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the story itself.
My personal feeling is that Patterson relies on action and pace, rather than depth, to keep his readers engaged and interested. To his credit, it does work. As I was reading Honeymoon, I found myself continuing to turn the pages (so to speak) – and I think the short, sharp chapters help this. There are times, reading more “typical” novels, where time considerations come into play when you reach the end of a chapter. Reading Patterson’s work, you get to the end of one chapter and it’s really easy to say, “Just one more.”
While the pacing is fast and exciting, though, Patterson’s character depth in this novel leaves something to be desired. We are introduced to Nora, one of the lead characters, early as a gold-digging interior decorator who is somehow managing to maintain two relationships with well-to-do men in different cities, but thanks, in part, to the pacing of Patterson’s style, we never really get a real understanding of the motivation behind her actions.
Ultimately, it feels somewhat rushed and a bit half-baked.
Patterson’s style is something I’m not used to. When I looked at the table of contents and saw over a hundred chapters waiting for me, I was a little intimidated; I’d bought it as an ebook, so I was missing the context of how thick the actual book is to give me an idea of how long it was. I quickly discovered that the reason there were so many chapters was because each one was only a couple of pages in length. Reading a Patterson book is like being dropped onto a busy freeway, the pace is frenetic and your best option is just to stay focused and pay attention until you get to your destination. Which is fine, except when, like me, you’re used to leisurely drives in the country with the top down.
I’ll keep reading more of Patterson’s books, because he does tell a good story, but he’s kind of a specific mood requirement.