Some say an author is only as good as his or her latest book. Is that why so many authors stick to the same plot line? Could it be that once an author finds a marketable book, the author is now pigeon holed into writing the same plot over and over again? Who has pigeon holed the author? Is it the fans? Or maybe it is book publisher? Could it just be a comfort zone the author refuses to step away from?

I know I have certain writing quirks I cling to in my writing. I used to write about the same three subjects. I also wrote in the same way all the time.  I noticed my writing wasn’t being read as much as it was when I first started. I felt like my readers were getting bored and I wasn’t growing as an artist. I made the choice to walk outside my comfort zone and try to grow as an artist.  I like the result from walking away from my go-to subjects and I feel like I am a stronger artist and writer because I took a chance and wanted to change.

So why don’t other authors do the same thing?

 Just off the top of my head, I can name three writers I won’t ever read again because I feel like I am reading the same book over and over again.

  1. Anne Rice: I am sick of the “let’s sit down and I’ll tell you my story” way she has of writing. She uses it for every book I ever read of hers and I won’t read her again because I am bored with it.
  2. Chuck Palahniuk: I remember when I first read him; I thought he was really great. Of course I can’t remember why I liked him to begin with and I don’t remember his books all that well. What I do remember is the last couple of books have been, “let’s take one event and see it through everyone’s eyes”. It is a great concept; but do I need to read it over and over again? It’s a shame because I hear he is a really nice man, but I won’t read his books anymore because I don’t feel like he is bringing me anything new.
  3. Arthur Nersesian: Now, I also read his book, “The Fuck-Up” when I was younger. Again, I liked it but I don’t remember why. I started reading more of his books and started really seeing the genius of his word choices. He has this great way of making new words to describe what the character is seeing or feeling. However, I am starting to get a déjà vu feeling as I continue reading his body of works. Again, it’s, “let’s have a main character who is an artist in New York City and watch them struggle and come close to making it”.

I understand that with some writers, people look forward to the comfort of the predictability.  If you want a book about “x” go get any of “y” books. I get that and I can appreciate it.

But, I think what I am really looking at here is why do writers write books? Is it to grow as an artist and share a story with the world or is it to make money?

Maybe Anne Rice was a bad example because she is such a commercial writer and I don’t think commercial writers are what I would define as an artist. To me, an artist brings something new to the table. An artist grows and shares his or her new knowledge with people. An artist takes chances within his or her art form.  

With Chuck Palahniuk and Arthur Nersesian, I thought I saw true artists. These men were bringing different stories and different plots to the table. But now they have flat lined. I want to understand why. Did they give up on being an artist? Are they now too afraid to step away from a proven plot formula? If so, will they ever become my rogues again and experiment? Will I ever see a different plot outline again?

Advertisements