Until I can actually say I've published a novel and my name is in neon lights, I will refrain from bashing successful authors...
However, I have a bone to pick with the readers of my generation and after. Since I am a reader myself, I feel I have a bit of artistic license to pick bones with authors. All in the name of saving readers from themselve of course.
Readers:THIS is good fiction.
Harry Potter is GOOD fiction.
Chronicles of Narnia, Emma, I'll even give you Jane Eyre even though she's not really my favorite character. These are works of fiction, recognized for their beauty and intelligence and creativity.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Loved it. The Help? Great read even if it was a little difficult to follow. I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. My tastes are pretty eclectic, though right now I'm on a fantasy kick. It kind of trends that way when I'm writing in a particular genre. I've heard that's a normal symptom for writers.
I will not name any names to protect the people damaged by the crappy writing, but a certain knock-off fanfiction for a particular vampire series is NOT good reading. It's not even close to good literature. I read the first chapter of each book. That was as far as I could go. Some people might say that was farther than I should have gone. (Sorry mom. I'm a writer AND I read - A LOT) I see words and just can't help myself.
Regardless, I wanted to have at least a minor idea of what the fuss was about. I regretted it as soon as it happened though.
You know those accidents on the freeway? The ones that cause MORE accidents because people's eyes just can't look away. Or train wrecks - pick your analogy.
I'm not one of those people who do the deer in the headlights thing with accidents - or train wrecks.
Reasons why said knock-off is not literature worthy of human perusal:
- The grammar, spelling, and format is atrocious. I am not perfect when it comes to grammatical issues. I'm pretty sure even editors can't claim that trait. However, whatever editor passed that work of fiction off to the printers ought to be ostracized. Give me their name. I don't want it on any of my future published works.
- The story was...oh who am I kidding? There WAS no story. What agent read the first ten pages of the manuscript and said, "Oh wow. This story is so riveting. I MUST get it published for my client." There is a rule of thumb that says a story must be gripping in the first pages or agents won't even look at it. Publishers and editors will send an instant rejection letter. That's what I was told anyway.
- I read the original work this story plagiarized. After the second time through THAT novel, I gagged down the poor grammar and editing. It was STILL better than the knock-off.
- I have NEVER read a protaganist I hated more than the protaganist whose name was changed to make it look like the story wasn't a knock off. The false humility in the first few pages just made her an unpleasant person - it also made her completely unbelievable.
- I'm all for romance and whirlwind fairy tale one at that. THIS novel is NOT romantic nor is it a fairy tale. I'm married, a romantic at heart, and pretty openminded about what goes on in our bedroom. What happens time and again in that novel is abuse. Plain and simple. As another author wrote here, the red flags are undeniable. (*note for my conservative readers: I do not agree with everything the author of this particular blog says regarding sexual relationships and if you are squeamish about language, etc., don't click the link. I AM agreeing with her take on the abusive nature of the novel in question)
The readers who went out and actually purchased copies of this novel - and its subsequent sequels - are condoning and encouraging the epidemic that seems to be plaguing our society. We are giving a crummy author millions of dollars - and putting her on the bestseller lists - for work that wasn't even hers and does NOTHING to add to our lives in any positive ways.
When my daughter and son grow up, I want them to read quality works of art. Books that educate and inspire, books that give hope or ask tough questions. I want books that will make them laugh and cry and get angry and dream. I don't want them to read books that will twist and distort a beautiful aspect of life and call it art.
It's like the artist who uses bodily fluids in their work. (Names not mentioned for GOOD reasons)
At the end of the day, what the artist calls ART, is just a pile of crap and other bodily fluids. We call it waste for a reason.
I am a reader. I know the value of words. I also know the limits I will go before the words have lost all value for me.
Shame on us for not demanding better of our authors, for discouraging quality in favor of...what? I still don't see the appeal.