Here’s a great post by John Scalzi on why he doesn’t make it his life’s mission to crush and destroy other writers in order to secure his place in the ‘cabal’ of writers who control everything.
It’s a very funny piece but – hey! – don’t you think he’s kind of getting into it by the end? He imagines all the possible ways he could crush and undermine other writers – by dissing said writers to his publisher, or by flaming them on the internet; and reluctantly concludes that a) he wouldn’t have the time to be that evil and b) people might think he’s a dick and stop selling and buying his books.
That, if you don’t mind me saying so John, is not the strongest of arguments in favour of not being evil. I haven’t got time, and I might get caught!
In fact, as we all know, John Scalzi is the nicest and most generous of authors. Not like [REDACTED] or the even more odious [REDACTED] or that manipulative bastard [REDACTED] whose abysmal novels are still published by that cynical imprint [REDACTED] Books.But hey, I kind of sense that John half wishes he did have time and technique to be actually evil. No more Mr Nice Guy!
For the record, I personally know of no cabal of authors denying opportunities to other authors, as is reputed to exist in the YA world. But I do know some terrible stories. For instance [REDACTED]
Actually, in truth, publishing is a very civilised world. And most novelists I’ve met are incredibly generous to up and coming writers. Jon Courtenay Grimwood, for instance, did me a big favour by writing a nice testimonial about Debatable Space before it was published. And I know of several writers who’ve been given a leg-up by established masters - because, oddly, novelists don’t compete with each other. Someone who reads a Jon Courtenay Grimwood may also read a Philip Palmer, or a John Scalzi; if you love reading, there’s time enough to read lots.
In telly, it’s much tougher; there are only so many slots on air, and far too many writers chasing them. And the use of ‘parachute’ commissions (ie commissioning eight episodes for a series that will only be broadcasting six, meaning 2 scripts are destined for the bin) means there is an ugly sense of each writer wanting to do down the other guy – in order to get that vital screen credit. That’s why you get some terrible, career-destroying behaviour from writers who should know better – such as when [REDACTED}
This blog can be read in full on Wikileaks….
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