Friday, March 30, 2012

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

That's T.S. Eliot, who, as an English student and English teacher, I feel should have stuck to Cats.

It's also not very kind, but there it is.  The unvarnished truth.

Guess what I did today.  I gave up.

Terry Goodkind beat me.  It took eight books (yes, eight books), but eventually I just ran out.  The idea that I had at least three more books (turns out there are eleven books, plus a prequel, in the series) was just too much.  I just couldn't take any more.

It's harsh.  And Terry, and fans of Terry, I'm sorry.  You failed.  You tried admirably, but you failed.  But more importantly, you were failed by others.

You had an editor.  You should have fired him/her.  This was the person who should have said, "Terry, you're repeating yourself.  Terry, you're too wordy here.  Terry, you used the word mud in eight consecutive sentences here.  Either use a pronoun or a synonym."

You had a publisher.  You should have found a new one.  One who would have asked you to cut a couple thousand words (or more, way more) from your books because then they'd have cost less to print and they still could have charged eight or ten or twelve bucks for the same paperback.

You had fans.  They should have been discriminating.  Fantasy readers aren't idiots.  Most of them recognise good writing.  They read well-written fantasy.  They read well-written sci-fi.  They read well-written newspapers, magazines, comic books, horror, biographies, YA fiction, romance, classics, poetry, etc. etc. etc.  They should have know that what you were doing was stilted and awkward.  They should have known better.

You had guys like me.  Guys who were going to stick it out from sheer perverse stubbornness.  And really, I should have known better.  I knew those books weren't going to get any better.  I knew that your habits would only get worse.  I knew that what had seemingly worked for you would be ingrained by now.  You'd had plenty of positive feedback.

Now.  My excuses.  I didn't pay for these audiobooks.  I *gasp* stole them.  Sorta.  I downloaded them from a piracy site.  I had nothing invested in them except my bandwidth.  So why did I take it so far?  Stubbornness.  Also, I listened to them at work.  My time was already spoken for.  I wasn't wasting it by listening to this crap.  And the attention I was giving to these books wasn't much, and what I was giving wasn't valuable.  I could also drop out and get back in without having felt that I'd missed anything.  I don't feel that way listening to the Game of Thrones, or James Bond, or The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Universe.

Terry, it's been a slice.  I appreciate all you've done for me (which, admittedly, is very little).  Write something else.  Get a new editor.  I'd be happy to give you another shot.

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