Friday, April 29, 2011

A Note From A Reader

As a reader I love to discover writers who have a lot of books out. I love to read the books in the order they were written, even if they are not a series. It’s interesting to see the development of the writer’s craft; to see the way they grow the more they write and as they mature. That’s interesting to me.

One of the sadder things I find is when success affects those writers to the point where it feels, to me as a reader, that the author has basically checked out and is phoning in the books. This happens most often when there is a great deal of financial reward and fame bestowed. I’m not sure why this is so; it would seem that the better you do would inspire you to be better at your craft, but it often appears to have the opposite impact.

I’m not going to name names here, but if you are a reader who has followed any writers as they’ve gone “viral” (for wont of a better word) then you probably know what I mean. It’s as if they have a template and they just change the pertinent information -- character names, locations, etc. -- and it’s all pretty much the same from book to book.

For example, in one author’s books the heroine is always torn between two suitors: the noble one to whom she is wildly attracted, and the other who is great, but doesn’t quite light her fire. The bad guy is always the one she is crazy about and the other one comes to her rescue. It’s frustrating that as a reader there are no more surprises awaiting me from this writer. I will continue to read the books, but the ho-hum factor is definitely quite high.

So what causes this and how do you keep your writing fresh? I don’t know the answer to either question, but I suspect that the money might have something to do with it. Perhaps you aren’t as inspired to write when all your needs are met, i.e. the “starving artist syndrome.” Or maybe when you are wildly successful your time is more limited because there are so many other demands on you that take you away from actually writing. I have no idea.

Or maybe after awhile the act of writing is boring or doesn’t inspire you the way it once did. What ever the reason I still read many of these authors who seem to struggle with this problem. I keep hoping they’ll return to their glory days and give me a new book that will keep me glued to it and surprised by its content.

I believe they can do it.

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