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Loyalty to an Author

12 Literary Journals That Publish Multiple Genres - Paying markets

Amusement The wolf only wanted a bag of crisps

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Paul Whybrow

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I recently bought a compilation album of folk-singer Al Stewart's early work. He was someone I listened to a lot in the 1970s and 1980s. Best-known for an unexpected hit, The Year of the Cat, he's continued to make music and though I listened to some of his albums from the 1990s, I haven't heard anything he's recorded this century.





Music is evocative of time and place, so enjoying To Whom It May Concern helped me to time-travel.

It made me wonder about loyalty towards artists of all kinds, including actors. I'd watch a film that didn't otherwise interest me, if John Lithgow, Ralph Richardson, Sam Rockwell, Miou-Miou, Isabel Huppert or Steve Buscemi were in the cast.

There are some writers whose books I eagerly anticipate, as I've read all the others—James Lee Burke, Annie Dillard, John Connolly, James Oswald, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Alice Hoffman and Jo Nesbø.

Thinking back to my early reading history, I devoured everything by Agatha Christie, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Arthur Conan Doyle. I liked their characters as much for their weaknesses as their strengths.

How do I foster such devotion to my crime series?

One thing these novelists share is that they let a reader into the thinking of their protagonists. You're there with them, through good and bad times. It's a bonding experience.

The main reason that I give up on reading a novel, is that I don't give a damn what happens to the characters. I've started a couple of debut crime novels this year, which left me cold as the protagonist was two-dimensional and hobbled with clichés—the usual tropes of fictional coppers—addiction, gambling, womanising, breaking regulations. I gave up on them. If the author doesn't care about creating a compelling main character, why should I care what happens to him?

quote-the-test-of-any-good-fiction-is-that-you-should-care-something-for-the-characters-the-mark-twain-59-90-93.jpg


Which authors are you loyal to?

Is there something about a series of stories that draws you back?

Why should anyone care what happens to your protagonist?

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12 Literary Journals That Publish Multiple Genres - Paying markets

Amusement The wolf only wanted a bag of crisps

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