Who Reads This Crap?

I see it so often and I just don’t get it. Well, no, wait, I do, in a way, but I don’t like it, nor do I approve.

There is a fine line between voicing an opinion and coming across catty and tactless. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I’m not throwing anyone under the bus for this. I’m saying it now because I’ve seen it three times this week alone. This isn’t a personal attack, but if your reaction is guilt or defensiveness, maybe it’s time for you to examine why.

No, I don’t think anyone reading here behaves like this, but then again I have no idea who lurks in the shadows, hiding from my sight. Besides, this is for you, my dear Readers (many of which are writers, or aspiring to be so). Do you see this happening? Does it drive you bonkers? You’re not alone.

Let’s look at some examples.

#1:  “I found Meyer’s writing choppy and inconsistent. I couldn’t suspend disbelief for any period of time. I read the first fifty pages and still wasn’t sucked into the story.”

#2:  “Twilight blows chunks. I can’t believe this woman is making money at this. Where did she come up with that Edward guy? I mean really? If I had to read that book, I’d slit my wrists first.”

Now before you run off to Google those quotes, they aren’t real. They’re examples. Okay, the first one was me, but the second was the summary of so much I’ve seen from others on Twilight.

When I see an aspiring writer talking smack about a published author, I lose respect for that person. You can hate the story, the writing, the character, but when you start mocking them, or the writer, you look jealous. You don’t think that author deserved that contract? Then write something better. You’d be a shoe-in, wouldn’t you?

I’ll tell you something else, aspiring writer. Agents and publishers will check out your online presence. Do you really look like the kid who not only runs with scissors, but goes out of his way to stab people in the neck with them? Trust me, you don’t.

I see this most often with the romance industry. It’s a commonly known fact that romance writers don’t get as much respect as “other” writers in many circles. I don’t like romance novels. There, I said it. I don’t. I also won’t trash them because damn, those writers have a huge cult followings, and romance readers plow through novels faster than anyone I’ve met.

I started reading HEAT WAVE, the book that is being sold as a novel by Richard Castle (of the Castle TV show). I had to force myself to follow the 20-page rule. I give every book at least twenty pages, if not more, to hook me. HEAT WAVE didn’t. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad book; it means it’s just not for me. I found nothing wrong with the writing or the characters; it turns out I’m not into detective/crime novels.

Those authors are all selling books – Meyers, romance writers, Castle’s ghost writer – and if they are selling books (which they are) then they’re doing better than me.

I’m not too big to admit that.

Next time, to play the devil’s advocate:  The one-star review. Real, or fiction?



10 responses to “Who Reads This Crap?

  • Carrie Cleaver

    Ugh. I quietly loathe things. BUT! Twitter is slowly evolving my opinions of what I will be willing to read. I just bought my first romance novel. And I’m going to enjoy the fuck out of it.

  • Kristen

    Hmm. I agree and disagree. As a reader, I have certain expectations. When those expectations are not met, whether it be quality of writing, story, editing, etc., I’ve got a right to express that. I’m not a style snob. I’m not even an editing snob. I’m a story snob. I can forgive almost any missteps in writing, if the narrative is solid. I love a good trashy romance novel, it’s like a palate cleanser in reverse. I even love well-written fan fiction.
    That said, I don’t believe in making it personal. I don’t, for example, think Stephenie Meyers is a bad person. I don’t wish her ill. Actually, given the fact that she’s got a gift for capturing the adolescent and adult, romance-starved female imagination, I wish her well. I hope she will grow as a writer, and refine both her style and content.
    I want people reading, I want libraries and bookstores and publishing houses thriving.
    I want more critical readers, too. I want readers to say, “I want better than that.” When they do, publishers will take more chances on new authors, keep publishing mid-list authors, and we’ll all benefit.
    My ultimate point is that if I invest my money and/or time in a book, I’m entitled to say anything I want. As a writer, though? I can only hope I do better, and that I get a chance to prove it. The way publishing is right now, I don’t see that happening.
    (I’ll give plenty of books a try, and for example, Andrew Vachss, is also not for me. Then again, I find Steinbeck incredibly boring. I have weird taste.)

    • piaveleno

      Sure, I don’t disagree that, if a book is a disappointment, we all have right to express that.

      My complaint is those that can’t find a way to do it tastefully. If someoen tells me “That book disappointed me on so many levels”, I’ll respect that. If someone goes on a twenty tweet rant, or behave like a jealous jilted girlfriend, then I’ll discount that “review” severely.

  • Louise

    The first example is great, imho, because it strives to be critical without being cruel. I joke about Twilight, Meyer, and sparkly vamps, but in all honesty, there’s no reason for folks–aspiring writers and the like–to come off as bitter about her success. However she got there she got there, and it’s kind of like what my dad used to say about a tv program: “You don’t like it that much, you can change the channel.”

    I tried the first page of Twilight ( I admit it, I’m not always a patient writer. I often give one page to grab me. lol) I couldn’t get beyond it. The writing was just very drab for me. But that’s just my opinion. In the end, people will like a variety of things, and if everyone liked the same thing, it would indeed be a boring world.

    Enjoy your blog, Pia!

    Louise xox

    • piaveleno

      “Critical without being cruel”

      Yes, exactly. We can hate a story and express that without being high and mighty, or downright nasty about it.

      I once gave a book 85 pages because it had a great premise, but the writing didn’t draw me into the story. Even then, I was sad to give it up, but it was too much work to fall into the story realm each time I read.

  • Louise

    whoops! Typo alert! That should be I’m not a patient reader! LOL ;-D

  • Carrie Cleaver

    ALSO, I’d like to point out that it’s all about publicity, and publicity stunts. I haven’t been able to go anywhere for 2 years without Twilight staring me in the face. Not that I care. Everyone needs a mindless read, or something that does not require deep thought. Fuck, it’s MY brain, I’ll litter it with smut, fucking, killing, or whatever else I want to. And the rest of the world can fuck right off.

  • Crystal Posey

    I have Heatwave and the first page made me want to put it down and go write. I love it so far. It’s not one of those ‘omg can’t put it down books’, but one that I can set down and read whenever. I like it a lot. I normal devour books so I’m, surprisingly, enjoying the slowed down pace of reading this one.

    • piaveleno

      I watch reruns of all kinds of crime drama on TV, but just couldn’t get into the book. It wasn’t bad, but I’d much rather sit and watch Nathan Fillion smirk through the jokes.

  • wdprescott

    I’m the same way, I have my First Chapter fail club when ever I talk about books. Every time I mention the Club I make sure to let people know that it failed for me as a reader and a writer and I try to look at the reasons that it didn’t work for me. If I can make it past the first chapter, then I stick with a book till the end.

    Twilight was one of them.

    As I read it, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. But, I saw why teenage girls would. And that’s great as that who the book was written for. I think sometimes we forget that not all kids enjoys the same books, nor the books we liked as kids or even now, but if a book gets a lot of people reading, for what ever reason, we writers can’t ignore that.

    The advice i can give is to critique the story, never the author, if the story is a bestseller, read it and see what makes it special in the eyes of the majority and learn from it. We all hate things, but that never means there aren’t lessons to learn from them.

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