Murder, she Wrote.

I just began reading a book that I had to put down after the first 3 pages. I became increasingly suspicious that this was another one of those “vanity books” where the author has no creativity whatsoever or has vetoed the right to be creative in this circumstance.

The main character of a book should be a developed and interesting individual. They should have thoughts and feelings all of their own. I feel like the writer loses respect for the reader when they start describing the main character and surprise, wouldn’t you know that it’s an exact replica of what’s found in the author shot on the back cover of the book? A more refined, prettier, wealthier, more perfect version of themselves. Why would they do this? Are they the best character for this book? Why does the character have to look just like them? Can’t it be their personality in a different body?

I truly don’t understand.

I was always taught that the best way to write is to write what you know. And I agree with that to an extent. But when it comes to the point where your main character is a mirror image of oneself that’s taking it a little too far, unless these books are to be “diaries” or “memoirs” such as Jessica Cutler’s “The Washingtonienne” where the main character was based on her persona and the book tells of experiences akin to what she went through when her sex blog was posted on Wonkette and her identity revealed. But when the book is a murder mystery, and the main character is a writer who experiences a murder (but hasn’t) it means the book (more specifically the character) wasn’t as well thought out as it could be. It means the editor was either poor, or lost the battle that the main character should not be the author in costume. It means that the rest of the book might not be good. It means I’m not going to have to use my imagination anymore because when I want to re familiarize myself with the character of the book I can just go and Google the author and there I have her in the red dress she wore to the party (as described in the text), the business suit that makes her look respectable (also described in the text), etc etc etc.

Is it too much to ask for to have a well developed protagonist? Is it too much to ask for to have an actual character? Can’t the character even have a different wardrobe than what the author has? Or at least wear different things in the book than the author wears while on her book tour?

It makes me suspect that the writer has nothing interesting to say. Because if they were so interesting the book would be an autobiography. And it’s not. I’ll read it and let you know what I think in about 2 weeks. In the meantime I’ve moved on to a book where the writer has well-developed characters, an interesting story line based on reality but completely fictitious, and something interesting to say. I’ve only read the first few chapters and already I know I’m going to enjoy this book.


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