13 writers you don’t want to be

time-cover-franzen_customBustle, which describes itself as “A new force in media that delivers everything you want to know, see and read – right now,” has delivered a very funny and all too telling roundup of “13 of the Most Annoying Writers You’ll Ever Meet.” Courtesy of Tori Telfer, this bulletin from the wilder and woolier frontier of literary endeavor brings together 13 of the authorial types you most hope never to see staring back at you from the bathroom mirror.

“Alas, a terrible writer must fall into every struggling writer’s life, and these are 13 of the worst ones out there,” says Telfer. You may never have to fear #5, “The ‘Writer’ Who Doesn’t Write” as a competitor, or #7, “The Non-Writer Who Just Wants the Trappings of the Writing Lifestyle.” But beware #9, “The Boring Writer Who Had the Billion-Dollar Idea that You Didn’t?”

And lest you think this is just all so much flannel, look here. Or here. Or here. And above all: here.

Read. Weep. Cringe. Enjoy.

2 Comments on 13 writers you don’t want to be

  1. I’d add the one that bugs me most. The writer who appeals to and appeases the ignorance and bigotries of his readers, often doing great harm. The best illustrations are actually two books that became the top-earning films of their generation.

    1. The Klansman, a glorification of the Ku Klux Klan, which became blockbuster movie, The Birth of a Nation. It was the top-earning film of all time until:

    2. Gone with the Wind which became a movie with that same name.

    Ponder for a moment just what those books that became enormously lucrative movies were.

    The first justified the Klan’s restoration of white supremacy. Its central message was that black people must be kept down, denied real freedom and a right to vote. That deal with events from about 1870 on and justified all the horrors of segregation up until the mid-1960s.

    The second justified slavery, arguing that the black people never had it better than when they had the legal status of mules. That dealt with events before 1865. (Yeah, like any person who has ever lived wanted to be out in the blazing hot sun chopping cotton.)

    In short, both were books and their movies defended, protected and preserved a great evil. Their writers were foul, vile, evil and virtually every other negative term you can heap upon them. They weren’t just annoying. They were evil.

    I might add that the ‘defense of evil’ genre is actually broader than that and includes grossly inaccurate films such as On the Beach. Fortunately that one didn’t have its intended effect, making people believe that it was better to be red than dead.

    And for those who don’t know, On the Beach is also world-class stupid–a good illustration of the ‘artist’ who thinks the world ought to conform to his vision of it. In the months after a nuclear war in the northern hemisphere released lethal doses of radiation there, there was more than enough time was available to build radiation shelters (three-feet or more of concrete) to protect the population of Australia. Waiting around to die might be what that most-stupid author would have done. It’s not what any nation not headed by an idiot would have done.

    Actually, that sort of author is blending over into another type of writer that annoys me, those who, in the interests of a stupid plot that they think reveals them as a ‘true artist,’ build grossly inaccurate stories, even if those stories don’t do the harm done by the three book-to-blockbuster movies I’ve already mentioned.

    That’s illustrated by a popular writer of thriller I began to read last year but gave up on in utter disgust. Either too stupid to know that satellites must follow fixed orbits rather than buzz overhead like bees or knowing but not caring if he lied to his reader, his basic storyline was simply impossible. I gave up on his popular bit of trash and put him on my never-read list.

    Both categories of writers are vastly worse than the merely irritating ones in Bustle’s list.

    –Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride: Saving her Father from the Ku Klux Klan.

    I’m actually linked to the history above. Lily’s Ride is a young adult novel adapted from Albion Tourgee’s 1879 bestseller A Fool’s Errand. The latter, based on actual events, portrayed the post-Civil War Klan as what it was–the violent political action arm of the Democratic party. The Klansman, which became The Birth of a Nation, was written to counter the still lingering influence Tourgee’s book.

    About half of Tourgee’s book was devoted to the complex politics of America just after the Civil War. Rather than go into all the detail required to explain that, I pealed out the book’s other half, which describes individuals, both white and black, who were risking their lives opposing the restoration of white supremacy, which in practice meant the restoration of the power of the planter class to exploit both poor blacks and whites as a cheap agricultural labor force.

    Lily is the teen daughter of one of those individuals. About sundown, she gets a warning that her father, who is away on a trip, will be murdered that very night. The only way she can reach him is to ride his dangerous thoroughbred stallion over roads infested with the Klansmen converging to kill her father. That’s Lily’s Ride.

    Very revealing that Hollywood as never turned a plot that dramatic into a film.

  2. 1. Writers who use animated GIFs
    2. Writers with more snark than substance
    3. Writes who keep rewriting the same book over and over again with the same cast of characters
    4. Writers who use social networking to push their books
    5. Writers who have enough time to post more than five reasons to disqualify writers they don’t like

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