Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm not supposed to say this, but . . .

. . . it's true. I have read published novels that I believe were inferior to my (unpublished) manuscript.

I know, I'm treading on thin ice here and I'm in danger of sounding like a delusional fool or an arrogant jerk. But, don't worry I'm a realist. I have read many novels that are better, and in some cases (such as Tosca Lee's), far better than mine.

Furthermore, I'm not saying those novels I feel rank below mine are not good, or not well-written, or undeserving of being published. I know how hard it is and I'm happy for all of them.

So, should I ever say this? Should I just keep my opinion to myself?

I believe there's a time and place for everything. (Actually that's not true. That's a crazy saying. There's never a time and place for nazism or cruelty to animals for example.) I would never say this to anyone in a professional setting. No good can come out of it.

These thoughts are better left in your own mind or in private discussions with good friends who know you're not delusional or a jerk. But then again, do you really know what they think of you?


Glynn said...

I actually wrote about a related theme today -- two novels that remembered at the last minute they needed to come an ending. And no, coward that I am, I didn't identify them by name or even hint which books they might be.

There's a lot of badly written and badly edited stuff out there. But you're right -- nothing good can come out of it.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Maybe we're not supposed to say it, but we all think it. I haven't met a writer yet that didn't balk at the mention of some famous (or not so famous) author's work. I personally have rolled my eyes about a zillion times at the mention of the Twilight novels...yep, I'm up to naming names...and found many, many books that made me think, "What was this editor thinking, agreeing to publish this??"

Oh, and I totally agree when it comes to Tosca Lee. She's wicked brilliant.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I should say that if you're asked and agree to review a novel then a real review is warranted.

The only author I name and criticize is Dekker. I don't like several of his novels and I'll be glad to tell you why. The reason I do this is because Ted can't get mad at me. Why? Because I love and recommend several of his works and I own 12 copies of his books.

Kay Day said...

I think you should start every query with the first line of this post! That will get their attention!
Then you should name names. That'll work.

Hey, I've had the same thought and I don't even have a finished manuscript. Mine is more like, "Well, shoot, if this can get published, what am I worried about?"

Nicole said...

Dayle, having read your ms. before its final edit/additions, what you say is true. I can vouch for that.

You know I love Tosca's work--it's profound, high-concept spiritual fiction, and written exceptionally well. However, you aren't in the same genre--maybe very loosely you are--so it's useless to compare these pieces to one another. Kind of like the apples/oranges thing.

And I agree: we can be happy for all of those who jump through the hoops and make it to publication. We just also know that royalty publishing doesn't always produce the "best" literature in spite of all their platitudes. "Always" being the operative word because there are a lot of really talented writers out there now.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Thanks, Nicole. I appreciate that. You point about comparing to Tosca is a good point. It's harder for me to make a comparitive assessment with novels that are close to mine in genre given the whole "authors are too close to their own work" factor.

Kay, I thought it would work too, but I keep getting rejections. Can you believe that? :)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Dayle, I have the same love/hate thing going on with Dekker's books too. The ones I love, I love dearly. The rest, irritate me. I totally love Three, Kiss, and Boneman's Daughters. But many of his books kept me hanging on the edge of my seat, and then when I hit the end, I thought, "That's it???" and wanted to throw the book.

And I think it's ok to cross genres if you're talking about pure talent. Tosca Lee's work is not the same genre as mine, but that is what holds my awe...she writes stuff I could never write.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...


Thr3e, Blink, and the Circle trilogy are some of my favorite novels. Do I get to name 1 or 2 that I don't like because I've named five that I loved?

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