Why Authors Annoy Me

Looks like a bit of a hippie, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Looks like a bit of a hippie, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So there this guy, Russell Blake, who’s written a bunch of bestselling novels. I’m not familiar with his work as I don’t read thrillers. In his most recent blog post, he talks about why authors annoy him. Honestly, I can’t argue with him.

He talks about how a writer friend–whom I assume will not be an author friend after he reads Blake’s post–disparaged some of Russels works because his characters did not have an arc. He then snarkly, and appropriately, points out that the (probably former) friend in question does not sell as many books as Mr. Russell Blake–who I know only through this blog post, but his seems like an interesting guy. I would definitely have drinks with Blake, especially if he’s paying. Okay, so maybe I just like drinks.

In his post, Russell talks about how his friend will riff about the “rules” of writing. About character arcs and adverb use, about archetypes and climaxes. However, Russel prefers to write a good story, something new and exciting, a ripping yarn.

I have a bit of a different theory. Those rules are great for people who are starting out. However, once you develop your style and you know what kind of story you want to tell, they become less important. A good writer doesn’t depend on rules. A good writer knows himself, learns from the rules that others follow, finds out how they can help his work, and moves on.

Or perhaps I should say, fortune does not favor he who has the thickest and best-organized rulebook.

Then again, I sell less books than anybody, so what do I know?

2 thoughts on “Why Authors Annoy Me

  1. russell blake

    You don’t read thrillers? Why the hell not? Try JET. It’s free. If you hate it, it cost you nothing. If you love it, guess what? You just found another time suck to do between drinks.

    I also like drinks. Rumor has it. I also love Jesus, kitty cats and ponies.

    But mostly if they are buying drinks.

    My point in the blog post is that authors are generally an insufferably arrogant, dogmatic bunch. Myself included. But my dogma and arrogance is, er, more appropriate, because I have managed to trick tens of thousands of readers into buying my crap each month. Thus, my critics and anyone who has the misfortune to disagree with me can suck it, because I basically rule with the strength of ten self-pubbed pulp fiction authors. For now.

    Write on.

    1. shannon Post author

      Russell Blake! Thanks for stopping by. I’m more of a SF and weirdness fan myself. However, I’ll give JET a try.

      I think a lot of people get off on trying to sound important by putting down other people. The more famous that other person, the more gratification it gives them. I hear a lot of, “Well, my book, of course, is a work of undiscovered genius,” from people who don’t have the chops. I also hear a lot of, “I wish my first book would have been better,” from the more experienced.

      Personally, I know I’m not trying to write literature. I just want to give my reader a wild ride.


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