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The Literary Rants!!!!!!!

April 3, 2014
When you publish one book a month (and other authors are writing the books for you), somebody is going to say something bad about you.  And I'm just the man for the job.

Why does this author deserve a rant?  I can think of at least one reason every month. (image via Wikimedia)

It’s tough for a guy like me with a monotone voice to have a good rant. Even if I yell and scream with passion, other people think I’m just talking loudly in a monotone voice. It doesn’t have much effect. Plus, rants can come across as whining if you do it wrong, or if people disagree with you. That’s a great way to ruin a rant, just call it whining. Being called a whiner is almost as bad as being called a racist (not that I’ve ever been called either); once you’re accused, you have to defend yourself against the accusation, and nothing else you say matters.

The problem with rants is that most of them are too long. Most rants have made their point after the first paragraph, but the rants keep going and going. I decided that my rants are going to be short, but I don’t want to post a 200 word rant. I’m too longwinded to write something that’s a mere 200 words. I’m more of a 800-1,000 word guy, so to meet my standards without overdoing a rant (I know, one of the points of a rant is to overdo it), I’ve combined several literary mini-rants.

THE JAMES PATTERSON RANT!!!!!

James Patterson has written a lot of novels, 13 last year (if I counted correctly), and he’s supposed to publish nine this year (I guess he’s going through some serious writer’s block in 2014). James Patterson is a one-man Book-of-the-Month Club. But most of James Patterson’s books are co-written by authors I’ve never heard of. What a scam!

I don’t blame James Patterson for doing this because all of those books become bestsellers. Man that’s got to be easy money for him. Just have other people write books and then put your name on the cover… I could do that all day.

I don’t blame James Patterson. I blame all those people buying James Patterson books!!! They’re encouraging bad behavior. I hate it when people encourage bad behavior!

THE TOYS IN BOOKSTORES RANT!!!!!!

I don’t like book stores that put their toys at the front. Last weekend, my family went to Brick& Mortar Booksellers, and my youngest daughter bee-lined straight to the toys. I had to explain to her that book stores are for books and that toy stores are for toys and that we were at B&M Booksellers to buy books. There was crying involved (I tried to hold it back), and I bought a book, and she bought a toy. This type of argument doesn’t happen when we buy books on Amazon. I really want to support my B&M Booksellers, but when they put toys at the front of their store, they make it tough.

THE WIKIPEDIA RANT!!!!!

Some guy is printing out every page of Wikipedia into hundreds of volumes that will be over a million pages long. I’m not ranting about the wasted paper; it can be recycled. I’m ranting because this guy is calling it art. I’ve always thought art was something I (or the average person) couldn’t do. I could print out Wikipedia if I wanted to, except I couldn’t afford a million sheets of paper and the ink. Will anybody try to read the print version of Wikipedia? If people want to make corrections to the printed version of Wikipedia, do they handwrite it on the one printed copy and wait until the next million-page version comes out?

I’d hate to make a correction on the print version of Wikipedia and then wait until the new version came out. I’d be ticked off if the correction wasn’t added after I’d handwritten it and waited. Then I’d really rant. I’d be so angry, you might even hear emotion in my voice.

THE BEST SENTENCE EVER RANT!!!!!

Some guys from a literary magazine have devised a list of the ten best sentences ever. I don’t like this list because I’m pretty sure the judges haven’t read every sentence ever written. Their selections are limited to famous literary authors like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen. These might be some of the best authors ever, but that doesn’t mean that one of them wrote the best sentence ever. There’s a chance that some unknown schmuck has written a really great sentence and we’d never know it because it’s in some book that the judges never read.

Maybe the best sentence ever was written on a blog or on Wikipedia or on Twitter (very unlikely). Maybe James Patterson has written the best sentence ever, and the judges never read anything by James Patterson. Maybe one of James Patterson’s co-authors has written the best sentence ever, but nobody wants James Patterson to take credit for it, so nobody has called the real best sentence ever “the best sentence ever!”

I think the best sentence ever is: “You suck!”

“You suck!” is short, but it packs a punch. Ernest Hemingway might not ever have written “You suck,” but he’d know what it means, and he might have wished that he had written it first.

And “You suck!” is the perfect way to end any rant.

When James Patterson decides to write two books a month instead of one, you can say to him: “You suck!”

When some guy wants to print out every page of Wikipedia and call it art, you can say to that guy: “You suck!”

When some literary judge chooses a convoluted sentence by F. Scott Fitzgerald as the best ever, you can say to that judge: “You suck!” or “That sentence sucks!”

Now, I’m not the kind of person who says “You suck!” to other people, so maybe I’m a hypocrite, but “You suck!” is still the best sentence ever, even if I never say it.

*****

But enough about me! What do you think?  Should a rant be much over 200 words? Does James Patterson write too many books?   Should book stores put toys at the front? Is Wikipedia in print really art? Is “You suck!” the best sentence ever, or would it need to be something more literary? What literary issues would you rant about?

42 Comments
  1. All I know is James Patterson sucks.

  2. I’ve never read a James Patterson book. What does he write about? One rant I come back to quite often is when successful author complains about having to travel in order to promote their book. Are you serious?! You don’t have to work, you get to travel all over the world and have an audience with people who love your writing. And it is on the publishers dime. Whiney author: You suck!

    • Yeah, that’s pretty whiney of writers to do that. It’s even worse when singers/rock bands do it, and the song gets stuck in your head. I hate it when whiney road songs get stuck in my head.

  3. Can I tell you to rant more? I love rants like this, especially those that make sense. Haha made my day!

  4. Excellent collection of rants!

  5. Well your rant definitely didn’t suck, and it came across as if you were about to throw a beer across the room. So I think you solved your monotone issue nicely. Well done!

  6. You suck is totally the best sentence ever

  7. I suck? You suck! This whole blog sucks! Sorry. I seem to be channelling Al Pacino.

    To answer one of your questions, I don’t think Patterson writes too many books, because apparently he doesn’t actually write them. I read a profile on him a couple of weeks ago which explained he provides his co-authors with a detailed outline and revises their drafts until he’s happy, but they do the bulk of the writing. He pays them for their work, they get famous through association, and he gets to claim he’s the best-selling author of all time. Even though he didn’t actually write it.

    • Al Pacino does NOT suck, except maybe when he’s overacting. Is it okay to say Al Pacino sucks when he’s overacting? I don’t know if it’s okay to say (or even think) it. Was he overacting in that movie?

  8. I agree that quoting James Patterson as a best-selling author is probably not a correct statement but at the same time if someone was going to offer anyone here a similar opportunity to get paid lots of money, become a well-known, “author” and claim rights to hundreds of books – would anyone refuse? In a public forum you may turn round and say of course I would refuse – but when faced with that offer I am not so sure people would!!!!

    • I will admit in this public forum that if I were invited to participate in a James Patterson scam (or something like it) I would think very hard about it. I’m not sure I’d say yes (it would depend on the details), but it would be tough to say no. Even so, I’m going to call it a scam.

      • I agree, a scam it may be, but it would be difficult to refuse. I think if you are an author trying to get noticed and someone that it recognised, whether rightly so or not, offers to help, it’d a catch 22 situation.

  9. Nice rants!
    I agree with you about most of them, if not all. Anyone who writes more than one book a month should be shamed into retirement, since he obviously isn’t. Plus, how much money does he need? Who really needs 13 bestsellers a year. Imagine Dickens doing that.

    Also, I’m pretty sure sentences are good or bad based on their context, so finding the best sentences, devoid of context, is pretty pointless. After all, if the world had just gotten conquered by space giants and you are marched in front of the 200′ tall king and yell “You suck!” that would be a pretty great sentence.

    • Now that I think about it, I’m not sure about shaming James Patterson into retirement. If James Patterson retires, think about all those co-authors who’ll suddenly be out of work.

      • You’d think that co-writing a book would give them some exposure though. They should be able to make it on their own.

        • I’m not sure I’d recognize any of James Patterson’s co-authors without his name attached to the book. Even if James Patterson retired, he might still have to put his name on the book covers, in which case he wouldn’t have really retired. Well, he has to retire sometime, or maybe his goal is to NEVER really retire but to always have co-authors putting his name on their books forever and ever. That’d be a diabolical plan.

          • What percentage of the writing do you think he does now? He might just give notes or edit for style.

            • I don’t know. I assume (Yeah, I know what that means) that the co-authors do most of the work, but who knows? Maybe James Patterson does all the work and then lets the co-authors put their names on the covers just because he’s a great guy. I’d feel bad if that turned out to be true.

  10. You really should try saying “That sucks!” and “You suck!”, yell out-loud.. it helps relieve stress… (Seriously). An accompanying frown also helps.. LOL

  11. I like to keep all my blog posts short.. no need to bore anyone!

  12. shaunewb permalink

    Reblogged this on professor Newbolt.

  13. For some reason, I can’t get over the fact that James Patterson’s chapters are like 3 pages long. It’s why I can’t read his work (silly reason but there you go). As far as the collection of toys displayed at bookstores, I think it’s a terrible distraction for children. What visual message are these bookstores aiming for? A shiny toy is always better than a good book?!!! My daughter who is an avid reader always falls for this visual manipulation at B&N. And the toys are the unique kind you can’t find at a store such as Toysrus or Walmart. Just the other day she asked if we could go back to B&N and purchase that miniature American Girl doll she came across MONTHS ago.

    • If an occasional chapter is three pages long, okay. But if that’s common… it’s a bad sign when the co-authors are getting lazy too.

      And I bet you could write a great American Girl rant. That’s a topic worthy of a great rant!

  14. Reblogged this on FemCandee and commented:
    I wonder what Hemingway, Joyce and Fitzgerald would say about Patterson’s co-authorship for fame. I think it’s absurd. Should an author claim to be an “author” if he hasn’t written the entire published novel?

  15. 200 words if fine, beyond that you have a manifesto:) What you rant about depends on the day I should think:)

  16. “You suck!” is a pretty awesome sentence… however I think an even better variation is “This sucks.” The ‘you’ in “You suck!” is always probably going to have to be a person (or an animal or robot I guess) but “This sucks.” can encompass all the nouns, can include experiences, feelings, and even specific people without being as directly offensive. Also, I think “This sucks.” can work without an exclamation point, thus making it sound even more pathetic or desperately angry.

    Both are phenomenal ways to express the state of mind you are describing, I’m thinking for the sake of rankings here, is it possible that “This sucks.” would come in higher than “You suck!” on the official list. Just putting it out there.

    • You’re absolutely right. And in my head I thought that the subject variation was implied, but I definitely should clarify that “This sucks!” works as well as “You suck!” (as in “This sentence sucks!”).

      Saying “You suck!” might get me punched out (and I don’t like getting punched out), but saying “This sucks!” is safer.

  17. I rarely read ‘rants’ and I ‘m glad I mad an exception here! Don’t we have a version of James Patterson out here, or the bookstores trying to sell toys, or the auditor printing hundreds of screenshots only to match them with the printouts? I guess I too have ranted about the godforsaken deluge of substandard blogs —I guess they are about 800 to 1000 words long, those rants— while I’d have achieved a similar fulfillment by just saying, ‘You Suck!’. Thank you, Dysfunctional Literacy.

  18. James Patterson? Who he?

  19. I think your rant would have been much improved by the use of different fonts. Make it less monotone. 🙂

  20. 1) That is not art. 2) I’ve never read James Patterson bc I like happy things.

  21. VeronicaBud permalink

    Hmm…I had no idea about JAMES PATTERSON. Now I know how come there are so many books out there by “him”. Thanks! Good rants 🙂

    • About a year ago, I had no idea about James Patterson either, until I noticed an entire shelf of books in the library with his name (and usually somebody else’s too) on them. It was an eye opener and the beginning of numerous internal rants.

      • VeronicaBud permalink

        Ha ha…nothing wrong with rants 🙂
        Have a good day!

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