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Are the Only Good Writers the Writers Whose Work Evolves? Let’s Discuss.

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I started The Fault in Our Stars last night.

I stayed up until 3 am and finally drifted off to sleep on a wet pillow.

The feels!

Tucker and I have been longtime fans of John Green since we first discovered the YouTube channel he has with his brother Hank.

Anyway, I was telling Tucker how I’m dreading reading anymore of the book since I know it’s going to leave me shattered like Sarah’s Key and Room. But there’s a larger part of me which just can’t quit this book. Damn you, John Green!

Tucker asked if Green ever writes happy books or just books about sad things and teenagers.

To paraphrase Tucker, he says the mark of a good artist is someone with range. Like with musicians  he doesn’t want to keep buying the same CD over and over; he wants the artist to evolve. That’s why he doesn’t have all the Clive Cussler books, even though he really likes them, because they’re essentially the same book just with a different setting.

To me, this doesn’t translate well to writing.

A brain surgeon doesn’t have to also be able to preform cardiac surgery to prove he’s a great doctor. Same goes for writers. That’s why there are genres.

Tucker thinks specializing is a form of weakness for a writer.

I say I want to be able to know what I’m getting myself into.

What say you?

 

  • http://twitter.com/dotnetcowboy Erin Peterson

    Good writers have a voice, know it, and use it. Their range is in creating the characters that reside in that universe. Witness Stephen King. His singular voice is fantasy horror but look at the range of characters he invents to populate his universe.

  • Jessica R.

    I think the sign of a great writer is someone with a strong voice who uses it to tell very different stories. That way you get some familiarity and still get to be surprised. John Irving and Steven King are both masters at doing this.
    Maybe John Green needs to get all the sad stories out so he can start telling happy ones.
    Ps. I tried to stop reading that book so I could spare anyone from dying, but then I kept picturing them in limbo and I had to finish it. Why yes, I might get a little too invested in my reading materials…

  • Sue

    I think Tucker is both right and wrong. Some authors (like Clive Cussler) take a storyline and simply regurgitate it over and over and over. Others take an idea or a scenario and from those can write numerous books all different – all interesting. Edgar Allan Poe comes to mind. He stayed in a very singular genre but each of his books were vastly different. I like having genre’s. I know if I want a good scary book, I can pick up a Dean Koontz or Casey Daniels. For true crime – Ann Rule. It’s similar to music in that if I buy a Def Leppard album I want to hear rock – not country or pop. I try to stay as far away from the “sad” authors as possible. When I read – I want to be informed or entertained – not depressed…..