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Monday, July 19, 2010

Unwritten Rules

I actually had reading time this weekend, mostly during a couple long car rides. Managed to finish one book, read a second all the way through and start a third. Wonderful!

But something I read is still bothering me. In one of these books, the author had one of her characters take a couple nasty swipes at another author, slamming her writing style and questioning her popularity. The character making the comments was not a sympathetic character so perhaps her comments where meant to be dismissed but, at the same time, no other character defended the second author or challenged the comments, so they were pretty much allowed to stand.

I’ve read a number of books where the author mentions another author or a character from another author’s work but this was different. Since the author in question (the one being slammed) is well known and extremely successful, the comments struck me a bit like sour grapes. As an “aspiring” writer I don’t know what the unwritten rules are for this sort of thing, so I’m wondering – as a writer, is making negative comments about another writer’s ability or popularity within one’s own story considered acceptable or even a compliment (as in, there's no such thing as bad publicity) or is it considered bad form? As a reader, what are your thoughts?


MaryC said...

Hi Linda,

I have no idea if it's considered acceptable as a writer, but as a person I certainly don't consider it acceptable. Something like that would definitely turn me off to that author's other books. I'm surprised the publisher allowed it.

About a year ago I was looking at a website of a very popular author because I was interested in a book she'd written. In discussing one of her books, she made digs about women of a certain age and how they delude themselves. (She went into much more detail.) Honestly, it seemed so mean-spirited that I had no interest in reading any of her books.

Linda Leszczuk said...


Thanks for posting.

I guess that's what got me about the passing swipe this author took at the other author; it just seemed mean spirited. Really took away from my enjoyment of the book.

Glad to know I'm not alone.


Janice said...

Ditto Mary. It's a turnoff, for sure. But that kind of behavior is popping up all over the Web, particularly in the blogosphere. Bloggers--especially those that aspire to be "high profile"--seem to feel it's their God-given right to be uber-critical of their peers. It also seems to be the trend in reality TV. Yuck!

Kimber Leszczuk said...

It makes me more interested in the person they took a dig at. SO I try to look at WHY they are doing it. NEGATIVE publicity is still publicity. Some people actually hire people to write bad reviews or negative things about them because it still garners them attention.

I tend to take EVERYTHING I read with a grain of salt. Usually I become interested in a book from it's blurb or word of mouth based on what the book is about. I also like talking to authors one on one in chats or forums. I don't usually tend to pay attention to things I hear about people second or third hand - I like to form my own opinins.

As for posting reviews of things. If I do not like it I will not be extremely negative or anything like that - I will post what I think that OTHER PEOPLE will like about it. I will state something along the lines of - in my opinion I found it to be this... but can see where others might find that appealing as it was a highly creative take on the concept... or something to express that it wasn't my taste but I still found it intelligent and creative.