Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Fan Writers

Blame scendan. She started it. A link on her page took me to the LJ of a fan writer. An "I wanna be the next [fill in a favorite author here]". Makes me want to puke. I could say some very rude things on top of that, but let me explain by example.

Douglas Adams. I love his books, read every last one of them, including the one where his wife and best friend slopped the contents of his computer onto paper after his death. There are a couple of turns of phrase of his I especially like, and emulate in my own writing. And if I ever write a novel, I hope I can come close to his level of imagination. But I don't want to be the next Douglas Adams. I want to be me. However, in his last tome, he lists his favorite authors. Three out of four were also on my list, and since I admired his writing, I picked up a couple of books by that fourth person (Ruth Rendell) and am now a huge fan of hers, too. If I ever write a novel, I hope my characters an have the depth and growth hers have, but I don't want to be the next Ruth Rendell.

Ray Bradbury's writing amazes me, especially his short stories. He can turn a phrase with a simple unusual word association in a way that makes me squee out loud. And he can do this in every sentence in every story in an anthology. If I can do that once a page, I'm thrilled, but I don't want to be the next Ray Bradbury. Re: Bradbury - if anyone saw him at WorldCon, please PLEASE write about what he said, and how he said it!

Orson Scott Card is the only author I have come across whose writing is so good I will even enjoy reading his magic and fantasy novels. I prefer his sci-fi (Ender's Game got me started), but he knows how to tell a story, wrapped around a strong central character, and I admire that skill. If I ever write a novel, I hope my protagonist's strength and charisma comes close to that of Ender or Alvin. But I don't want to be the next Orson Scott Card.

Long story short, a writer can be a fan, and should be - the best way to learn how to write is to read, read and read some more. And here comes my big but, right in your face: But a copy cat is just a hack. A real writer doesn't want to be the next anyone else. A real writer wants to be brilliant by being himself.


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