Books

CC2K examines the foibles of best-selling authors and what they can teach us about good writing.

ImageIf we look at how best-selling authors like John Grisham and Stephen King are bad writers -- both in crafting their novels and their prose -- we'll not only gain insight into what makes good and bad fiction, but we'll also lay bare a lot of what makes bad literary criticism.

Disclosure: I'm partly writing this to explain why I like Grisham's novels so much. He's been a guilty pleasure of mine (and a lot of assholes) for some time, and I clearly need to explain myself. I'm also a King fan, like everyone else on the planet, but he's a much better respected writer than Grisham.

First, I'd like to savage bad book critics. Yeah, it's easy to dismiss them as failed writers who enjoy shitting on the success of best-selling juggernauts like Grisham and King -- but my unhappiness toward them goes way deeper. Literary critics have a laundry list of cliches they trot out when telling us a book sucks, yes, but they also will very often over-praise a hack like Grisham when he makes the most cursory efforts to improve his writing. In other words, bad lit critics suck at telling us why a book sucks, and they suck at noticing when a book still sucks.