Why Writers Go Crazy

on June 3, 2010 in Misc

There are lots of reasons why we writers can mentally lose it. Why we despair. Why we throw our keyboards/ laptops/ typewriters against the wall and storm off to drink ourselves into an unholy stupor. Why we give up editing and polishing our manuscripts until they shine and say to hell with slaving over query letters and prostrating ourselves before agents and publishers.

Dante larger

Today, I have my own special reason to to chuck my literary ambition and let myself go mentally bottoms-up. The urge started the moment I finished reading articles in the New York Times about yet another writer who got yet another multi-million dollar book advance for a novel that, at 397 unpolished, unedited manuscript pages, was only half finished but was still hot enough to start a bare knuckle bidding war among salivating publishers AND get $1.75 million for movie rights.

What is said precious manuscript about?

You guessed it.


Of course the book is about vampires. What were you expecting — something like To Kill a Mockingbird?

Michelangelo use

And you want to know what’s even funnier? What makes me want to laugh myself to puking death? The agent of the author, who has a “literary pedigreee from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop” and a PEN/Hemingway Award for a short-story collection, submitted his vampire book to Hollywood under a pseudonym. Why, may you ask? Because this agent didn’t want Hollywood to typecast the author as the type who didn’t have “vast commercial potential.”

That’s right, folks. Apparently a PEN/Hemingway award is the kiss of death for writers in Hollywood. Hell, such awards and a serious literary curriculum vitae didn’t seem to amount to a hill of beans even among the New York publishers, who went bonkers for the author’s new take on vampires and to hell with his elegant syntax.

In all honesty, I give kudos to the author Justin Cronin, whose book The Passage is being hailed as the upcoming bestseller of the year. Really truly, good for him. Sounds like he deserves all the money and success coming his way.

But you know that I speak for the rest of us peon writers when I say, WHY CAN’T THAT HAPPEN TO ME JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE?

And that’s my rant for today. Thanks for reading it.

You hear that, fancy-schmancy New York publishers? SOMEONE is reading my stuff.

8 Responses to “Why Writers Go Crazy”

  1. sugar says:

    well…I got this cool idea from one of my blogger friends..
    We shall make werewolves popular. Because soon..vamps will be boring..and who will be there…me!!! lol..
    Just hang in there..it will happen :)

  2. Ben says:

    Oh my gosh!! That makes me mad, too! To think that the simple subject of a vampire can cause such a ruckus and frenzy… it’s getting me to consider writing a vampire book, even though it goes against everything in my literary arsenal.

  3. Hart says:


    I agree on the frustration points, but I guess better a pedigreed writer who hides it than a movie star who can’t write, ne? It really IS too bad that awards and degrees are a kiss of death to the commercial forces–THAT sucks big time… not that me and my psych degree need to hide… but the anti-elite movement loses us all a lot of great stuff–the stuff that would MERIT being our legacy, but can’t even find publishers.

    But I do prefer this to the likes of Tyra Banks and Hillary Duff getting YA contracts because they are famous in unrelated fields.

  4. Ann says:

    Hang in there, Helena. The Compass Master is a good book and Layla deserves an audience. It will happen.

  5. Helena says:

    Hart – Tyra and Hillary got book contracts? How sucky! What I do like is when a book doesn’t get a big advance or much notice and the author looks like he/she; is headed for obscurity, but then word of mouth eventually turns it into a bestseller (Harry Potter, anyone?).

  6. Helena says:

    Ben – Exactly! I mean, why aren’t people sick of vampires already? Maybe I’ll start a vampire blog (humorous) just for the hell of it.

  7. Helena says:

    Sugar – Thanks for the support. I’ll keep hanging ’cause I don’t know what else to do. Love the werewolf idea. And ghosts and shapeshifters. Vampires or so overdone!

  8. Helena says:

    Ann – The sooner it happens, the better for my sanity. Thanks!