Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Allele - Greatest Weaknesses of Modern Authors

Allele - Greatest Weaknesses of Modern Authors


I'm gonna list what I consider to be the Greatest Weaknesses of Modern Authors, their writings, worldviews, methods of working, work produced, etc.

Discuss if you like.

1. Little or No Real World Experience: Too many modern authors, writers, screenwriters (not to mention artists of all kinds) have little or no real world experience. They go to school to learn how to write, they spend their lives obsessing over writing, they spend most all of their free time writing or learning to write. Yet they never lived and have nothing to write about except what is spawned within their own imaginations. They spend all of their time creating fictional worlds because they have nothing to say about and have made no observations on the real world. How could they? They've never spent any time living in it. Writing about what they see in their own heads is the only accomplishment they've ever had or tried to have.

2. Overspecialization: They write only Fiction, or only Non-Fiction. They cannot and do not cross over convincingly, because they are either afraid to do so or let other people tell them they cannot.

3. Overgenrelization: They become a genre writer. Which means that for the most part they become a standardized and serialized hack writer or a closet book entertainer.

4. No Word Hoard: The modern writer has no word hoard. No vocabulary other than that of his genre. He has no poetry and no word-soul. He's like reading a White Paper on computer graphics. So he is not truly literate. Not that that ever bothers him. Lack of poetry is considered gritty, urban, hip, modern, sophisticated. He's as vital as a disco ball at a cotillion. And half as fancy.

5. All Idea, No Story: The modern writer is filled with the most incredibly clever ideas and schemes, about nothing of any importance at all.

6. Worldview: The modern author has a worldview derived entirely from his own very limited real world experience, or derived entirely from his own imagination. Which all too often is little more than an academically recycled imagination. Full of sound and fury, signifying bluffing.

7. Methodologies: The modern author believes the best way to write is to sit in a room all day and stare at a computer screen or at a mirror and navel gaze. It would never once occur to him to get out in the world and watch how it operates and how people actually live. He thinks his job is to sit in a little room and stink it up. And God knows that's also about the size and smell of what he produces.

8. Art is as Art Does: The modern author thinks of himself as a modern Artist. Why anyone would want to do this is beyond me but it tells a lot about why they write what they do. And what they write about. And why they write so badly.

9. Manhood is Dead: Being a writer used to mean you first were a man who had some experience with being a man and so you had something to say about being a man. You can pretty much forget about that now. It's gonna be awhile before manhood becomes a common attribute among writers again.

10. Ignorance is Bliss: Just ask most modern authors. Compare what little they know of the world to how much they're willing to write about how little they know. You'll get the idea pretty quick.

11. The Psychopop Imperative: If there's a deep pop psychology imperative then some modern writer is gonna find a way to carefully explore the idea. Of course if there were such a thing as a deep pop psychological imperative it might be worth the effort.

12. The Deconstructive Myth: With the right technique the modern author can explain everything. Even the unexplainable. Just ask him. He'll tell ya, and then he'll write 15 books in a series explaining how he figured it all out. "In his head." This is also called the "Fictional Conceit" or the "Theory as Fact" motif. A dedicated Fanbase will eat this one up. Just ask em sometime.


Challenger Grim said...

Well put post, I think you really hit the nail on the head.

I have been known to write for fun and would be most humbled if, sometime I could show you one of my short stories just so you can check to see if I'm falling into one of the traps you list above.

Jack said...

Of course, but if you're already aware of any deficits you might have as a writer then you probably don't need my help. You're probably already avoiding them.

Nevertheless I'll be happy to look at what you send if you want me to do so.
My critique will be brutally honest, however it will also be fair.