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Thursday, September 12, 2013

When did I become Herman Melville?

Let's not get it twisted. I'm not saying that I wrote Moby Dick. I wasn't exactly attempting to achieve a novel that expansively surveys the human psyche and obsession, compulsion and sexuality, etc. ad nauseam.

Not that I don't love Moby Dick. I do. I love Moby Dick. If you don't like it, you're probably wrong. That book is awesome. But Melville is not what I would call an author with a strong voice. If you haven't read it, go read the beginnings of a few different chapters. It's like the whole thing was actually a collaboration of 20 different authors who couldn't work together. Maybe Melville had split personalities.

Or maybe he just read too much.


And this is exactly what I'm talking about when I say I've become Melville. My novel is tainted, and I've got a lot of work ahead of me to fix it. If you're a new author, let me give you a piece of advice.

STOP READING. RIGHT NOW.

No, wait, not right right now. Finish reading this post. Actually, you should read my blog regularly. I promise not to corrupt you.

But otherwise, STOP READING right now (again, this blog is exempt from the command). Or focus on reading only one author. Or re-read everything you've written so far before attempting to start the next chapter of your epic fantasy-sci-fi-Western-horror-romance.

I would read this book in a heartbeat.


Or else, be hyper-vigilant. Because the truth is that you are a sponge. You may not realize that you're a sponge, but trust me: you are. And you're going to soak up whatever you read and then squeeze it all out into your writing.

It's not a bad thing all the time. It's just something you need to be aware of to minimize the impact. Or else you're going to find yourself in my shoes -- with a novel that seems to be written, in turn, by yourself, J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Thomas Hardy, Suzanne Collins, Kenneth Grahame, and Gustave Flaubert. And that's just confusing for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. The correct answer to when you became Herman Melville is approximately 1:00 am on February 4th 1988.

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