How do you choose a favorite writer?
That’s the topic my fellow Purple Inkers posed to me, and I have been struggling with it ever since. I love so many writers that it’s impossible to pick just one or two.
Oh sure, no writer can do everything perfectly, and I’m aware of their flaws. George RR Martin is fantastic at starting and ending a scene. He writes wonderful female characters, who are fully realized, strong and flawed just like real people are. I love that about him. He introduces way too many characters, though, which can be exhausting for readers like me. And I personally agree with critics who say he takes way too long between books. (That’s an unpopular opinion, and I’m disagreeing with Neil Gaiman here, but so be it.)
I loved Ann McCaffrey’s Pern novels as a teen, especially the ones that tell about how Lessa becomes Weyrwoman and how she goes back in time to bring past dragonriders into the future (her present) to save the planet. And I loved the Harper Hall series with Menolly and Piemur. Great characters. Great world-building. But there were moments in the stories where it got soap opera sticky, like Kylara sleeping around until her dragon kills Brekke’s dragon. Too melodramatic. Yuck.
I adore Shakespeare, and Hamlet is one of my favorite pieces of literature, hands down. Shakespeare (or whoever wrote the plays if he didn’t) was excellent at capturing the foibles of humanity so well and also catching an audience’s attention that his plays have withstood centuries and are still relevant today. That’s impressive. But King Lear bores me to death. I just want to slap the old man. I have no patience for him.
So… how do I explain why I love all those writers, and others I haven’t mentioned here, despite their flaws? What do I say to you? I’d prefer to say nothing at all… Let the magic of a good piece of literature transport me away to a world I haven’t known and don’t look behind the curtain. Who needs to see the little man pulling levers there anyway? Wouldn’t you just rather believe in the Wizard of Oz without disillusionment?