Monday, 20 August 2012

Never meet your heroes.

As you may have realised if you occasionally read this blog, I like to write. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a writer at the moment, because as much as I like to write, I don't do it professionally. Like a lot of other folks waiting for their (hopefully) big break I work a day job.

And like many other writers, I have other writers who inspired me. Being a fantasy writer, I have all the traditionals like Tolkien, but I also grew up reading novels by a man called David Eddings. Recently, I torrented a copy of all of his works - don't judge me, I own most of them in actual book form, but its rather difficult trying to put books onto the the kindle app on my tablet; there isn't a big enough port to squeeze a 300 page book into.

One of the books was Eddings book of source materials and essays for his first two book series, the Belgariad and the Mallorean. I made the mistake of trying to read this.

Christ, I wish I hadn't. A more sneery, unpleasant opening to a book I have never read. I knew that Eddings made the decision to go into fantasy as a commercial one, but the fact that he tries to dicourage other writers from getting into writing fantasy smacked of a certain amount of trying to prevent competition in the market. On top of that, a whole load of the book comes across as pure intellectual snobbery. I was so irritated by his constant sneering references to "Papa Tolkien" that I eventually gave up and deleted it off my kindle. Hell I'm not the biggest Tolkien fan in the world, but I wouldn't disregard the fact that he was pretty much the founding father of modern fantasy.

On top of all this was the out and out patronisation of the early introductions. The attitude of "I'm a professional. The rest of you who want to write are just amateurs and will never match up to my accomplishments unless you follow the specific route I set out."

Now, I had a pretty damn good teacher when it came to learning how to build a fantasy world and he never felt the need to be this goddamn patronising and obnoxious about the whole process. (By the way, 2007? Has it really been that long? Christ.)

I never even got to the world building stuff, or the background texts that Eddings wrote for his stories. I gave up.

Never meet your heroes. Or read their non-fiction writings. Trust me on this one.