I don’t know where I read this but it sums up what all we scribblers do who try to make readers sublimate their conscious mind and allow their imaginations to take over for a bit.
“All thrillers follow the same line: In the beginning a horrible event occurs; then the hero of the story makes a wrong decision; the effect of this decision is, that the hero has to solve the incident on his own; no help from the police or other authorities; the police are an irrelevant part of the story; in the end the police legitimizes the brutality of the hero.”
And that’s it in a concise and well-put nutshell. Unfortunately, there are many books out there that seem to have trouble following this simple pathway. Just take a look at the reviews (those 1 and 2 star Amazon reviews) of many books. It seems that everyone with a computer and word processor is suddenly an author. Nevermind that they never bothered to even read the master thillers from the great writers. No matter that they never took any courses in writing or were any part of a group of aspiring authors. It makes no difference that they skipped the part about working at the craft of fiction and just decided “to be an author.”
What makes them think that a critical reading audience is going to be clamoring for their “coming of age, living with grandma, life on the farm, murder in the belfry, Christian enlightenment, life on the run, suburban housewife detective” book is going to sell a million copies? (I think that was a run-on sentence—sorry about that.)
I could be wrong (it’s possible) but I think this is a symptom of our current adult generation. We have a population of thirty and forty year olds who probably finished college, but did it with an easy major in some field we never heard of when I was a young man. The degree in “South American Lesbian Social Studies” probably meant that you just had to show up for the multiple-choice test. That might have gotten them out of school with a diploma, but it did little to prepare them for a career in writing.
Actually, even attending college is no guarantee that you can or will become a successful writer. A certain amount of “life” is required before one can fictionalize events to make them enjoyable reading. So now we have a plethora of wannabe authors who grind out their barely readable tomes and then sit back waiting for J. K. Rowling success. I can promise them a few low-demanding readers, but they will have more success robbing a bank for money, than wasting their time writing.