Author Topic: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature  (Read 1228 times)  

Offline brkingsolver

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Offline Lydniz

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 12:36:48 PM »
Can we have a summary please so we don't have to click?

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 12:42:02 PM »
Quote
Last Friday, William O'Rourke, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, came to The Irish Times to praise his former protege Michael Collins and, almost as an aside, to bury the entire crime fiction genre. Cause of death? "Fatal lack of talent."

"Michael [Collins] has too much talent to succeed as a crime writer," wrote O'Rourke. "He doesn't possess the fatal lack of talent required. America really doesn't possess enough of a literary culture anymore to maintain a writer like Michael."

Retribution by crime writers on social media was swift. ... The canard that crime fiction is inherently inferior to "serious literature" should be a dead duck by now. American literary critic Leslie Fiedler's 1969 essay Cross the Border -- Close the Gap was one of the first to challenge and fill in the perceived gap between "high art" and "popular art" or "pulp fiction". But every now and then, an attempt like this is made to reopen the rift and sometimes 140 characters is not sufficient to tease out an issue. So I asked some of the finest Irish and international criminal minds, or crime writers at any rate, to respond in detail to O'Rourke's dismissal of their genre, quoted here in full.




Offline brkingsolver

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 12:42:19 PM »
Can we have a summary please so we don't have to click?
A professor of creative writing bashed genre fiction, specifically crime fiction. The Irish Times reached out to a number of successful authors for their opinions. It's a rather long piece, and the joy is in reading professional wordsmiths gently refute the good professor's opinion. :D

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Offline Sonya Bateman

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 12:43:09 PM »
Long summary: Some professor or another tells a newspaper that his protege (Michael Collins) is too talented to succeed in crime fiction, and then manages to slag off every genre writer by claiming thriller authors need "a fatal lack of talent" to be successful. Actual thriller authors take some offense to this. Twitter hilarity ensues.

Short summary:

Professor: Literary fiction is superior! Genre writers are drooling morons!
Authors getting paid for genre fiction: *laughs all the way to the bank*

;D


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Offline Greg Dragon

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 12:53:59 PM »
You're on a roll today, Kingsolver.

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Offline Lydniz

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 12:58:34 PM »
Ah, OK, not too clickbaity then. :D I shall go and read it properly now.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 01:00:59 PM »
You're on a roll today, Kingsolver.
A very slow day at work. :(

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Offline Beth_Hammond

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 01:06:35 PM »
It was a long Monday.

I love to hear Patrick Rothfuss address the professor types who turn their noses up at genre fiction.

I'm still figuring this out.
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Online DanaFraser

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 01:24:02 PM »
Can you imagine how mortified Michael Collins must be? His one time mentor basically calls him out as a failure in genre fiction then attacks all the successful writers within the genre.

And this is perfect:
Quote
Meg Gardiner
I had a drop of talent once. I got rid of it. Sold it out of the boot of my car so I could write a crime novel.

Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 01:41:23 PM »
Crime writers must not lack a talent in fatality.

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Offline dianapersaud

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 03:32:32 PM »
I think this was the best response:

Jo Spain
For anybody who thinks producing crime novels is the lesser art of writing, I say this write one. Go on. Its as easy as you think it is. Ill even give you the crimewriter's playbook.

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Offline Abderian

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 05:48:05 PM »
The same thing's often said about science fiction. I've studied literary fiction to a high level and I can honestly say that there's plenty of scifi written that stands up to it.
I don't think this professor actually knows what he's talking about. Either that or he has poor quality students. He shouldn't be in his job if he believes this is an example of a genius at work (taken from the original article):

Father Sheamus gorged down a greasy fry and washed it back with three cups of watery tea. His heavy coarse beard was splattered with the yellow of egg and specked with crumbs from burnt toast. The waiter stood idly by in amazement. The priest gulped down the last drop of tea and then slamming the cup against the table with great satisfaction, he belched and wiped his sleeve across his mouth. The jostling train, now set on track four, crawled like a great armored centipede into the station.

The imagery is pretty good, but the sentence structures are repetitive and tedious. I don't think it's that surprising that Michael Collins isn't making it as a writer if this is representative of his work.

Offline J. Tanner

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 05:55:51 PM »
No one looks down on writers more than authors.
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Offline Kal241

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 06:40:19 PM »
Doesn't surprise me; professors tend to look down their nose at anyone who makes more money and has to deal with fewer kids on a daily basis than they do.
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Offline Tess McCallum

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 01:46:48 AM »
Reading is a form of entertainment. Authors who entertain their readers have talent.  Whether they meet some arbitrary literary standard held up by a so-called expert is irrelevant.

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Offline Doglover

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 02:28:16 AM »
Reading is a form of entertainment. Authors who entertain their readers have talent.  Whether they meet some arbitrary literary standard held up by a so-called expert is irrelevant.
This. Many years ago, I attended a class purporting to be creative writing. The professor of that gave us as an example, shakespeare. I mean, can you imagine selling him nowadays with a new name? It was an English Literature class, not a creative writing class. I only lasted two sessions.

I would give the talent award to the one I can understand and whose story grips me to the end.


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Offline Jessie G. Talbot

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2017, 07:40:54 AM »
No one looks down on writers more than authors.

Bingo.


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Offline lincolnjcole

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2017, 08:12:25 AM »
A professor of creative writing bashed genre fiction, specifically crime fiction. The Irish Times reached out to a number of successful authors for their opinions. It's a rather long piece, and the joy is in reading professional wordsmiths gently refute the good professor's opinion. :D

Lol, it's pretty great!

Offline SC

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 08:21:28 AM »
No one looks down on writers more than authors.

Sounds more like no one looks down on writers more than literature professors. And it makes sense, really. If all writers wrote with the straightforwardness that you tend to get in genre fiction, literature professors wouldn't have anything to minutely dissect and make up whole new meanings and intentions about, and they wouldn't have to teach students the secret of how to do so, so they'd be out of a job.

Offline Aderyn Wood

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 08:27:39 AM »
It was a long Monday.

I love to hear Patrick Rothfuss address the professor types who turn their noses up at genre fiction.

Got an example? I'd love to see it too.

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Offline JE_Owen

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 10:37:08 AM »
Crime writers must not lack a talent in fatality.

I tip my hat to your pun.

Offline Alan Petersen

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 11:59:15 AM »
Can you imagine how mortified Michael Collins must be? His one time mentor basically calls him out as a failure in genre fiction then attacks all the successful writers within the genre.

He's now getting a lot of free publicity so maybe he's thrilled if its spiking sales. He can play good cop to the professors bad cop now that he has all of his attention and exposure.




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Offline J. Tanner

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Re: A fatal lack of talent - crime stories versus literature
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 01:04:23 PM »
Sounds more like no one looks down on writers more than literature professors.

(PS. I could be wrong, but I fully expect this is the same William O'Rourke that has written numerous books, both fiction and non. The article mentioned Miller as his protege. From context, I think the dude considers himself and Miller authors with a capital A.)
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