Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stop Writing Excellent Books. Dammit.

I've been anxiously awaiting Dream Called Time by S.L. Viehl and it finally arrived on Friday.  It was so shiny and perfect.  All I had to do was finish the book I was already in the middle of and it was all mine.  I started it yesterday shortly after noon and read it straight through - with breaks for dinner and other necessaries. It was awesome.  The author nailed it.  And being that this was the last book in a 10-yr / 10-book long writing journey, she did the whole series justice with the way she finished things.

Of course, this post wasn't meant to be a book review.  No.  This is a cautionary tale.  Excellent books are not for the weak reader.  In fact, sitting here in the only position I have left that doesn't make me want to cry, I'm thinking people should stop writing excellent books altogether.

Point the first: When you read an excellent book, you read to the exclusion of everything else.  Sometimes meals get forgotten.  Often you lose sleep.  Your family begins to wonder if you've slipped into some kind of bizarre state of catatonic schizophrenia where you don't acknowledge the world around you, but you still remember to use the bathroom.  And occasionally, you forget to move around which causes certain parts of one's body to stiffen up and remain stuck.  (Causing more sleep loss both for you and whoever is unlucky enough to be sleeping with you at the time.)

Point Two: After you've read said excellent book, you can't stop thinking about it.  You lose more sleep.  Your minds wanders off in the middle of conversations -which leads to unconsciously agreeing to host the family reunion in your back yard complete with a balloon bending clown named Scraps.  (And you thought shouting Yes! when you remembered how the heroine saved the day was only in your head.  Sorry, but Aunt Matilda heard that and she wants fifteen pounds of homemade potato salad by Thursday.)

Tertiary point (for other writers only):  You begin to wonder why the hell you're writing anything because whatever crap you put down will never be as good as the book you just read.  And then you begin to hope you'll glean some sales from the few people who weren't moved by the book you just read.  You are even willing to take sloppy seconds and castoffs from Awesome Writer.  Because, as I said before, you will never write anything that good.

Fourth point:  When one book is so excellent, it sells lots and lots.  This means, of course, that people are spending their hard earned money when they should be saving it for things like food and shelter and clothing.  In these hard economic times, is writing a book everyone wants to buy really fair to the general populous?  I think not.  (And besides, if people are spending money on the excellent books, they aren't buying the not so excellent books, which means smaller checks for the less brilliant authors.  That's so totally not fair.)

So, I beg you brilliant writers out there... CUT IT OUT.  Geez.  Write something mediocre next time so I don't end up with a bent neck and no sleep.  Seriously*.

* Not really.  If you thought any of this** was serious, I'm truly sorry for the fact my mediocre writing would lead you to that conclusion.  ;o)

**  Okay, I really am serious about how awesome Dream Called Time is.  I'm also serious about the fact that I was so wrapped up in the story I forgot to move around and now my neck is stuck in a permanent 'bent over book' position.  Somebody overnight me a case of Aspercreme.

ETA: I just posted a review (and a comment to another review) of Dream Called Time over at Amazon.  Of course, this reminded me that I didn't put that silly disclaimer up with this post, so here goes...

DISCLAIMER:  I am in no way affiliated with SL Viehl or any of her other pseudonyms.  She didn't give me this book and I'm not getting any kickbacks from the woman.  I bought my copy off Amazon.  I hope everyone who stops by here understands I only say nice things about books I actually like and for those books I don't like, I keep my mouth (or in this case, my fingers) shut.  Mom always said if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  (Okay, so I don't always follow that rule, but I try.)


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