Or: How to avoid the first-person trap.
I’m not much of a “literary critic.” Oh sure, I have my opinions. And unlike yours, mine are always right.
But I don’t get much into the business of critiquing other books or comics. It’s a lot of work, and I’d rather devote my energy to creating my own things. Things like the above webcomic, the Robert Ash occult detective stories, and novels.
Despite that, I do read a lot. I try to read books from a wide spectrum of genres, styles, and topics. That’s a pro tip right there for creative types: Don’t just read the genre you like (or are working in). Read broadly, read lots of things. You never know what might spark something that changes your work. Pursuing a medieval cookbook might give you an idea for the next great children’s novel. I don’t know. But it never hurts to explore.
After reading so many different kinds of books—and after spending a considerable amount of time learning the craft myself—I can say that I have developed a nimble taste for good writing and bad writing.
I’ve also learned what kinds of books make me so furious, I want to throw them across the room (full disclosure: I’ve done this).
Today, I’m not going to write a review about a bad book, but highlight something I’ve discovered that can really spoil a potentially great story. Maybe you’re an aspiring writer. Or perhaps a cartoonist. Maybe you just love reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy stuff. Or maybe you just found this by accident.
Whatever the case may be, this blurb of text might help you recognize a very bad problem in your story. Avoiding this just might save your life!
Okay, maybe not that. But it will prevent you from embarrassing yourself.