S.G. Browne

Stupid Agent Advice

I read once, I believe it was in a listing for a literary agent in the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, where an agent suggested that any aspiring writer should read the best-sellers and blockbuster novels to get a feel for what to write and to write something similar. That was the secret to being a successful novelist.

Hmm. Okay. I’ll read Michael Crichton or Tom Clancy or Stephen King and then emulate them in order to get published. What a brilliant gem of professional guidance.

We’ll call this advice crap.

Sure, you can learn something from reading best-sellers and blockbuster novels. Literary agent Albert Zuckerman even wrote a How-To book called Writing the Blockbuster Novel, providing experienced writers with the tools to get their novels on to the best-seller list. But to suggest that a beginning novelist try to write a best-seller is ridiculous. The chances of success are about as likely as finding a Human Resources administrator on an 1860 Georgia slave plantation.Instead, how about suggesting that an aspiring novelist write something original, something that resonates, something that means something to the author. Because if it doesn’t mean something to the person who wrote it, then it’s not going to mean anything to the person who reads it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

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Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 1:40 pm

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