The ghost of MARK TWAIN here:
Want to be a successful author?
Well, first off, children, do not be put off by criticism!
Why listen to the comments made by famous folks about the same book:
"A book so bad that it gives bad books a bad name."
"The intellectual equivalent to Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese."
"A best-selling primer on how NOT to write an English sentence."
A.O. Scott (New York Times)
The book? THE DA VINCI CODE!
There are two kinds of writers:
literary (poor) and commercial (books people actually read!)
are the ones who write dry, thoughtful books that try to illuminate "the human condition", "the human experience" or "the human heart".
These books tend to move at a slow pace,
so that the author can stick some preachy bits in and you won't really notice
because he just spent three paragraphs describing a daffodil or an entire chapter on a turtle crossing the road.
The point of these books is that the author is actually quite a bit smarter than you
and has something to say about your life even though you two have never ever met.
Of course most folks these days are a few French Fries short of a Happy Meal,which explains why
E.L. James and Stephine Meyers
have the kind of money that gets you a private island on which to hunt people who think they're on a reality show.
Being an old newspaper reporter, I know that "Don't get too close to a story" has forever been the mantra of ethical journalism
and, consequently, no one in America has uttered it in the past hundred years.
All of which points a big neon arrow with the word "problem" flashing inside it at one question:
how can you be objective about humanity if you are yourself human?
The answer is "isolation".
History's greatest literary minds have all been locked away from normal human interaction (if any)
by layers and layers of madness, misanthropy, and manic-depression.
(I just love Alliteration!)
Addiction, depression and destitution are history's hallmarks of genius, don't you know?
Why, it is a bedrock fact of Wikipedia that all great artistic geniuses were insane, addicts or had Mrs. Bates for a Ma.
The recipe for literary genius is
1) a consistent outsider status,
2) above average intelligence and
3) a thorough grasp of whatever language you are writing in;
unless you're one of those dang Rappers, in which case you can play the culture card anytime someone tries to correct your grammar!
You listening Kanye?
Oh, you want to be a successful COMMERCIAL writer?
Well, children, why didn't you say so?
What you need for that is:
1.) INACCURATE HISTORY
Those adorable Vikings, bare-chested, all good looking, all swoon worthy.
Naw, they t'weren't smelly, toothless, and rape mongers!
2.) TWO DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS
Prose puppets that will spout dialogue no self-respecting morons would spout.
Characters so mind-dead that they will gleefully walk into a trap, following arrows painted in blood on the walls
3.) MORE TWISTED SEX IN 30 PAGES THAN HAPPENED DURING THE ENTIRE REIGN OF CALIGULA
Readers these days don't just want to be witnesses to orgies.
No, children, they want to participate in them so throw in as many jaw-dropping details as you can
with kitchen utensils if possible ...
especially the egg-beater!
4.) WRITE THE SAME BOOK OVER AND OVER AGAIN
It worked for Dan Brown, Charlaine Harris, and George R.R. Martin. It will work for you!
IF ALL THAT DON'T WORK:
The thing about this here literary success is that it tends to not be a conscious choice.
Sometimes it's inspired by radical political ideals (like Tolstoy),
other times it's a reaction to your high-functioning psychosis (two words: Love, craft),
or sexual deviance (Mary Shelley and her super-famous poet hubby, Percy, were known to have sex on her mother's grave),
or jealousy over your awesomeness (Ernest "hunting elephants from a plane while drunk" Hemingway).
Uh, oh, children,
the ghosts of Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, and Hemingway are heading my way.
The Mississippi is calling to me! Bye for now!