"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.




Monday, June 1, 2009

Maybe It's Just Me, But...

Most books in which the protagonist is a novelist, poet or reporter bore me to death. There are a few exceptions, like Tony Black's Gus Dury, Quoyle from The Shipping News or Laura Lippman's Tess Monahan.* After writing fiction most of the day, I don't usually want to read fiction about writers.





*Yes, I realize that Dury and Monahan are ex-journalists.

5 comments:

Chris said...

Ha! I both agree, and am guilty of doing this. The protagonist of THE ANGELS' SHARE is a reporter, albeit for a small-town weekly rag that mostly writes about touristy stuff like the best place in town to get a lobster roll. I could make excuses about why mine is an exception, but I'm not going to bother, 'cause that's not for me to say.

What I will say is that I think the writers-writing-writers trend is an unintended consequence of the (horrid, in my opinion) advice, "Write what you know." Instead, I think authors should endeavor to know what they write. We'd end up with far fewer writer-protags that way.

David Cranmer said...

Writers as protagonists don't bother me. I could add King's MISERY and Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" to your list. If it's as well written as those I don't mind.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Like I said, there are exceptions (and I'm sure Chris' novel will prove to be one), but as a rule I don't care for writer-protags. And, of course, the whole problem could just be me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Try Starvation Lake by Bryan Grueley or Paperboy by Pete Dexter.

carl brookins said...

Take a look at Julie Kramer's "Stalking Susan," a really good TV reporter's quest to find a killer. One of the strengths of the novel is Kramer's judicious insertion of behind the scenes action of the tv station personnel in a way than not only explains but moves the action ahead. Far more useful and interesting than just periodic infodumps.