Open Letter to The Author

Okay. Whoever is writing this stuff, please stop it. It’s bad enough that whenever there’s more than one possible outcome you’re picking the least likely or the one that’s most likely to be mistaken for a bad parody plot. At least pay attention to your damn character names.
Take the latest sub-plot (please). Who in their right mind would ever believe someone named “Reality Winner” would do anything significant (such as, you know, exist, much less what she’s alleged to have done). I’d get torn to pieces for that, but you seem to think you can just write it in and nobody will even care.
Maybe not many of your readers or your unfortunate cast will care, but I sure do.
Then there’s that whole War on Terror plot line, which isn’t so much a plot at this point as a freaking distraction. Seriously. It seems like any time you get bored, you get some murdering Rif or one of his friends to blow himself up, or drive a truck into a crowd or something equally inane.
If you had competent players instead of comic relief in the leading roles it probably would help to raise tension (except tension is already quite high enough, thank you very much), but instead it feels like you’re just trying to distract from the way you’ve only got one lead character with any depth, and you cast him as the antagonist in the part you’re letting us see.
It doesn’t help that you’re tying back every lunatic’s efforts over here to the one competent character and turning him into a Machiavellian puppet-master that’s frankly way over the top, and then to fight him you’ve got the blundering comic relief with a heart of tarnished semi-precious metal. It’s been done, and you haven’t even put an individual spin on it. It reads like you’re just going through the motions.
You’re going to pull another Deus Ex Machina out of your anatomy, aren’t you? You’re just waiting to throw in some ridiculously improbable event and sit back and smirk at us while we try to figure out how to deal with it.


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63 responses to “Open Letter to The Author

  1. paladin3001

    *blink blink* *drinks rest of coffee* *thinks…..* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  2. Draven


    its the only plot twist i can see that is suitably large at this point. Going to war with n Korea is too predictable. so, aliens.

    • Zsuzsa

      Oh, I don’t know, the Author seems pretty good at coming up with plot twists. I mean, who would have thought that Anthony Weiner (speaking of another name that we would get mocked for) subplot would come back in such a big way.

    • But… but… he’s left all these smoking guns lying around for something that’ll make Michael Bay look tame. I mean, Yellowstone! San Andreas! New Madrid! And that’s not even counting the occasional “Eh… Krakatoa. Just because.” Or ice age.

      How exactly did it work that those poor woolly mammoths up in Siberia were frozen fast enough we can still tell what they were eating? When next will we find out… the hard way?

      I still suspect we’re in that section of history right before the map gets filled with flags and arrows. But the Author, he’s never felt the need to just have one plotline running at a time.

      • Well, the “Someday a hurricane will hit New Orleans square on” trope was only good for a few months attention, so I suppose the rest of the natural disasters got dropped from the current volume.

  3. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Because fiction has to make sense.

  4. Christopher M. Chupik

    Let’s not even get into the crazy shipping. Laci Green and Chris Ray Gun? That’s just absurd.

  5. sabrinachase

    Meanwhile, overhead without any fuss the stars were going out… 😀

  6. Luke

    He’s just proving Camas correct.

    Btw, it appears that the unfortunately named Reality Winner choose the name herself.
    Her parents have been in the news supporting her, and they share an unremarkable surname. And there is little reason to believe that the girl has ever been married.

    • Luke

      Autocorrect, I hates you.
      I hates you forever.

    • TRX

      Maybe. I’ve seen families where the children all had different last names from the parents, usually with some made-up first name. And quite often with one or more hyphens. The made-up names used to be fake African; now they seem to be a combination of fake flower child and poor spelling.

      Dwane Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho would laugh…

      • Luke

        Upon further review, she was born Sarah Davis.
        (I would say christened, but it’s not at all clear that her parents were into that sort of thing.)

        • This makes it even odder that she managed to have a clearance…. (like that doesn’t scream “mental issues”?)

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            There’s some reason to think that the federal status quo on hiring, clearances, and counterintelligence is FUBAR.

            • No kidding. My husband had to get information on Shadow to pass his clearance– and there was some question of if it would be acceptable before they verified she was in Australia, I almost didn’t get a clearance because I was too clean, hadn’t even been pulled over– and they had THAT nutjob a clearance?

              • Several sources have commented that the various details of the event and the woman are completely unbelievable, so that someone is doing something, with the connivance of several people who know that the report is mostly phony. at one point had a link to one of these.
                We may congratulate that Author for giving us a mildly convoluted plot. Perhaps he will restrain himself from inserting the plot scheme of one notorious Hugo novel, in which time is no longer simply connected, so that some later events happen before some earlier events.

        • So, not like Moon Unit Zappa?

          I know of a girl who was named Female (pronounced Femally). They thought the hospital had named her for them.

          • I heard of one of those too — they thought the hospital had named the poor kind. Who thereafter went by the nic of “Molly”.

          • I’ve worked with large volumes of high school students, and have thus seen lots of odd names. “Precious” and “Precious Baby” are actually kind of sweet, if you think about them, but “Sparkles” did not become infamous because of her name, though that helped seal it. Her junior prom dress was… extraordinary. Yeah. We’ll call it that.

          • Free Seagull Carradine. Born 1972, named by his stoner parents. Had the good sense to re-name himself Tom.

        • Alan

          Heard the name from from an angry (drunk? something) father.

  7. Wait… wait… I’ve been seriously Not Paying Attention… you mean this ‘Reality Winner’ is a human? I was thinking about putting a $2 bet on that horse.

    • Up until yesterday I thought her name was something like “Reality Winter,” possibly with funky spelling. I do know a kid who has “Universe” as a middle name.

    • I spent several hours getting very confused wondering what reality show winner was afraid of being disappeared by the US government.

      I like my version better.

    • Arwen

      I thought Reality Winner was a Trump joke since he hosted The Apprentice. Then I googled it.

  8. Since we’re talking to The Author, I’ve got a more general comment for Authors: make sure that your character names are correct (i.e., do your research). Here’s an example from a historical romance blurb:

    “Princess Amber Kazanov needs a husband. She flees her native Russia”

    I couldn’t get past that part, and angrily hit delete (no, the author won’t see any $ from me).

    A Russian princess named Amber??? First, the name’s too modern, second — was Tatiana too gauche? Third, even I know about patronymics (so the last name should probably by Kazanova). Fourth, I’m guessing the Author simply wanted an exotic background, so picked “Russian princess” out of a hat.

    Considering the name alone, I’m guessing that the level of research into “Russia” and “Russian princess” was negligible. My historical knowledge isn’t detailed enough to pick out minute errors, but something so blatant like a modern name in a “historical” setting (and no, I haven’t even bothered to look inside to get a sense of the “historical” time period).

    And because I’m obsessive, I checked a baby name site and found that Amber first became popular in … 1963. So, if by “historical” you mean a princess born in 1963 or later, but that presupposes that the Tsar was never overthrown … my head hurts.

    • TRX

      Not to ignore that no matter how shrewish or ill-favored, the “princess” part would guarantee some number of suitors…

    • About the time this moderately daring book got reprinted in paperback.

    • At least Bad Namer could have looked up a translation and used that as a nick-name. And no, a Russian would have three names, plus a possible nick-name, and Amber ain’t one of those three. At least not before 1992 or so.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’ve got an alternate history or two where a space alien takes over the Czarist secret police and murders all the proto-commies. I may write up one soon, and if I do, I will make sure to have an Amber Romanova.

      • So, the new mother is exhausted after a long and difficult labor, and mumbles something while holding her new daughter and the midwife — over ninety and mostly deaf — presumes that mumble is the girl’s name and announces it far and wide. Poor mother has an uphill battle for years, trying to convince people that she’d picked a very respectable Russian name for her daughter, following all of the expected naming conventions — she’d never name her daughter something as plebian as “Yantarnaya” (Amber).

        • Yantarnaya is the adjectival form, not the noun form. The noun form is Yantar’.

          Ambra is Russian for ambergris . Stinky!

        • Jeff Mitchell

          This is how a character from the Septimus Heap series was named. From a wiki on this character whose name was O. Beetle Beetle: ” It is said that Beetle was named when his mother moaned “Oh, Beetle, Beetle!” when the Registration of Names asked for her son’s name.”

  9. Yep, per all the actual evidence, this “Reality Winner” was a plant for a false flag op.

    Note to authors: don’t make your last-ditch character so obviously a plant, and your plot so obviously a false flag op, and readers might suspend their disbelief long enough to read your book.

    • Andrew

      It has to be a false flag op.
      Because if its not….

      • freddiemacblog

        And there’s the question of who would give a top-level security clearance to a 25-yr-old (IIRC, she got the clearance at 21)?

        • Holly

          Military. I had a TS at 21, thanks to ROTC. Necessary due to the nature of the thing. Don’t think I ever handled anything . . . Oh, wait, yeah, no, I absolutely did. Never mind.

          • I know the son doesn’t have a TS – but, OTOH, he’s enlisted, not officer.

            However, he has told me that if he ever comes up for Sergeant, he’s going to have another background check, and more thorough than the initial one.

        • That isn’t that unusual– all the examples I know of are military, but then most of the folks I know with clearances at least started in the military.

        • jaed

          Military linguist, so yeah.

          (On the other hand, another semi-incredible fact is that she is fluent in not one but three very-hard-for-English-speaking-adults-to-learn languages—Farsi, Dari, and Pashto. All three tacked on at DLI, and learned well enough to be a translator? Not impossible, but… author seems to have Mary Sue tendencies….)

  10. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I want to mount a defense of the story, but I’ve forgotten all the funniest arguments I had thought up.

  11. Christopher M. Chupik

    I mean, the Election storyline last season was absurd, but the follow-up is just tedious. Every week the Democrats say that Trump is in bed with the Russians and he’s going to get impeached, and every week it just fizzles out.

  12. Holly

    Considering the various chapters floating around already published and labeled “The End” if The Author intends to keep them all cannon, He’ll be needing all the Deus Ex Machina He can muster. Fortunately, He’s the best equiped in existence for that.

  13. Bob

    Yes, but the really important thing is: is ‘rif’ a slur or can it be made to seem like one?

    Gotta prioritize.

  14. Kristina

    Dear Me:

    I am going to spend the rest of the day at work giggling because of this.

  15. If UKIP wins the election tomm, then we’ll KNOW that the Author is getting desperate for surprises. Although the twist in the Tehran side-plot was a pretty good twist. The foreshadowing was well buried, at least in the story-world’s media.

  16. Pingback: Thursday Links – Yard Sale of the Mind

  17. Is this complaint addressed to God, or to Douglas Adams? (Actually, they are maybe one and the same, come to think of it.)

    I must admit, I’ve been keeping an eagle eye out for “forty-two.” As well as descending sperm whales…