To Diss Or Not To Diss

February 6, 2009

On a lot of writing lists I’m on, people are talking about Stephen King saying that Stephenie Meyer is a bad writer.

People are debating whether or not it’s okay for us, as writers, to be allowed to publicly speak out about another person’s book. For example, if someone posts in their blog, “OMG, LIKE, NOVEL X IS THE BEST THING EVER OMG OMG OMG”, and I think Novel X is the worst book I’ve ever read, is it okay for me to comment and say, “Yeah, that book sucks” or is it kind of considered bad form?

I’m not sure.

On one hand, why shouldn’t authors be able to voice their likes and dislikes? If someone asks you at a book signing or an event if you liked a particular book, or think a certain author is a good writer, why should you have to lie?

On the other hand, what ever happened to sticking together? Not too long ago I heard this story about someone taking an author I know’s ARC and passing it around, reading it out loud with a bunch of friends and laughing at how bad it was. And I got this really weird feeling, even though I hadn’t even read the book yet.

I don’t care how bad they thought the book was, someone spent a lot of time and work and anguish writing that book. Getting rejections on previous manuscripts. Having multiple editors interested in their work.

Plus, who can really say what bad writing is? Sure, we have rules, no cliched characters, watch the adverbs, etc. But if a book that is “badly written” by these rules is doing really, really well and connecting with people, can we say it shouldn’t have been published? (I’m not talking about TWILIGHT here, just any book in general that does well but is said to be badly written.)

What do you guys think?

Posted by Lauren @ 11:35 pm  

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Comments

  1. kbaccellia says:

    I agree. I think the King post was sour grapes. Meyer’s books are striking a cord with teen girls.

  2. kbaccellia says:

    I agree. I think the King post was sour grapes. Meyer’s books are striking a cord with teen girls.

  3. twistedquill says:

    Although I really enjoy Stephenie Meyer’s work I don’t consider it to be excellent fiction. In fact the whole time I read it I felt like I was reading fanfiction.Good fanfiction, but fanfiction none the less. I don’t know why I felt this way or even why I initially felt that way, but I won’t deny that I loved the books, and I’m looking forward to anything new she might write.

    I don’t think you should have to lie. However, a reader might take an author’s opinons, whom they really respect and hates the supposed book/author, and in turn choose not to read the book because of that. I also think that in King’s case his readers will more then likely never pick up Meyer’s genre of books so it doesn’t really matter, but hey I could be wrong. I suppose it just depends on how much influence that author may have to stop people from reading a book just because they had a bad opinion about it. I personally do not like King’s books because I feel that they drag much too much to be enjoyable, but does my opinion effect millions of readers? No, does King’s? Yes. How much of a difference it would have made I have no idea.

  4. twistedquill says:

    Although I really enjoy Stephenie Meyer’s work I don’t consider it to be excellent fiction. In fact the whole time I read it I felt like I was reading fanfiction.Good fanfiction, but fanfiction none the less. I don’t know why I felt this way or even why I initially felt that way, but I won’t deny that I loved the books, and I’m looking forward to anything new she might write.

    I don’t think you should have to lie. However, a reader might take an author’s opinons, whom they really respect and hates the supposed book/author, and in turn choose not to read the book because of that. I also think that in King’s case his readers will more then likely never pick up Meyer’s genre of books so it doesn’t really matter, but hey I could be wrong. I suppose it just depends on how much influence that author may have to stop people from reading a book just because they had a bad opinion about it. I personally do not like King’s books because I feel that they drag much too much to be enjoyable, but does my opinion effect millions of readers? No, does King’s? Yes. How much of a difference it would have made I have no idea.

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