Friday, February 18, 2011

A funny thing happened on my way home from the bookstore...

For the last few years, since I started writing, I've been reading almost exclusively in the genre I'm writing, which would be YA. But, this winter, I decided to catch up on some of my favorite adult authors. I just realized something. My favorite author isn’t very good. I’ve been really disappointed in his last two novels. His stories are interesting, so I keep reading them, but the writing is really lacking.

All the things I struggle so hard to avoid in my own writing—using the same phrases over and over…and over and over; using too many dialogue tags (especially the character’s name) over and over…and over and over; putting my characters in the same situation over and over—okay, you get it, I know—he does, over and over…and over. And his attempts at suspense are kind of lame and very predictable—which is bad, since he writes thrillers.

I’ve decided that I need to go back and read the first book of his that really sucked me in. Then I can figure out if I was just a less discerning reader before I started writing or if his suckiness is more recent—maybe due to deadlines and being rushed. He’s a NYT bestseller and puts out at least two books a year, so he clearly knows more about writing than I do but…

But it’s really disappointing to realize that someone I looked up to (and recommended to a lot of other people) isn’t as great as I thought he was.

I know. You’re rolling your eyes and yelling at the screen that I need professional help. Hero worship and all that… And you’re probably right.

I’ll reread some of his earlier books and report back.


  1. Yeah...I completely understand that feeling. I won't mention the author but she's written many, many books and I leafed through her latest which didn't even begin to hold my interest. I felt that perhaps, both of us had moved on. I think her first books may still hold my interest. Hmmm. Such a valid experiment, Lisa. :] Love it.

  2. I feel that way with alot of sequels, or if the author has published like 30 books and it just seems to be the same story over and over.

    With that said...I'm still a sucker for a certain theme that I will read over and over and if it's done right I gush every time. Like Sarah Dessen's novels. I pretty much know what is going to happen, but I love them anyways and keep buying them.

  3. I can think of one of my favourite romance writers that churns out books so quickly because she's just using a formula... (if it aint broke?)

    But yeah it's interesting to go back to books and re-read with the knowledge you have now...I will try this (when I've gained A LOT MORE writing knowledge).

  4. I am not a writer but the same thing has happened to me while reading one of my 'use ta be' faves. And yet...there are some (like Alistair MacLean) that are just as good now as when they taught me that reading was fun back in junior high.

  5. Am so curious as to who this might be!

    This is one of the reasons I have given up on most of my adult reads for authors with at least 6 books written, as I feel the plot and dialogue remain the same and it's simply just an "insert new character name here" find and replace deal.

    Perhaps it's just that these types of books sell and so there is no longer a need to be creative.

    I'd hate to think that adult readers are set in their ways and don't like change, that somehow the familiarity of the theme, etc. is only what is sought after.