Today I read a good article in Vanity Fair on the author James Patterson, and how he writes his multitude of books. He has a stable full of helpers, and churns out rather than “crafting” as he claims books for adults, teens, and children.
If he would stick to one genre he would be remarkable, but his popularity makes him gush more ideas on a mass production basis.
For those who do not follow his series, try a few teen books. If you do not mind small chapters, lots of paragraphs per page, and a bucketful of periods, that is your thing.
For myself, I find it tedious. The mark of a good read is to engross the attention of the reader’s mind, and pose a challenge. The book should be savored more than once.
If you want that kind of book, James is not for you.
I cannot conceive of collecting any of his series and re reading them. In fact, the choppy style of the teen and children’s stories quite irritates me.
Patterson has an imagination run wild, and keeps coming up with “new” plots, but it seems to me that everything has been done before, and mutants with wings fighting evil scientists rings a hollow bell in my mind.
To contrast his writing with my favorite woman author, Diana Gabaldon, I would say his is pap for the reader who has no time to think, only feel the surface of the plot, and hurry through it to the next installment.
Diana writes such deep informative books on history, medicine, warfare, and sex, that her books can be put on the “save” shelf, and enjoyed over again with no boredom.
She is caviar, and provides a rich reading experience. She engages the imagination and produces visceral reactions to the flow of the story, or multiple stories. She has kept this story line going for twenty years, with no sign of wrapping it up with a definite ending. I hope it does not hang fire at the end, with a substitute coming in like Robert Jordan had to have.
James Patterson relies on substitutes or co writers. He makes an outline, farms it out to several writers, checks it over and reworks it, then goes on to the next one.
I hope he keeps a good log to keep track of all the various threads of his work.
Diana, on the other hand, takes years to turn out her tomes, which are densely written, historically accurate and can be used as a doorstop in a pinch. She has several things going also, like a television show of her series, and writes a smaller series of one of the characters as a mental vacation. She has several computers going at the same time, so writer’s block is never an issue. She gets saved on my shelf, and Patterson gets forgotten as soon as he is read.