“The difference between good writing and bad writing is ‘did the author do what he set up to do?’ You can’t say ‘this is a novel about my first love and by the end you’re going to be heartbroken’ then none of that comes out of the book. And I’m not talking about a book that was structured that way on purpose, but a writer not doing his work! If a book gets published, an editor looked at it and plucked out specific paragraphs that didn’t fit in the novel…There are cracks in something other people deem perfect… If there’s a level of perfection to strive for, there’s also laziness and garbage material. You know the level of perfection you want to reach, and if that’s true then there must also be bad art.”—
Pieces of Dan’s rant on criticism from the Two-Book Minimum podcast with Jeremy P. Bushnell.
On this week’s Two-Book Minimum podcast I sit down with comedian Sue Smith (Vh1’s Best Week Ever) and Jeremy P. Bushnell (author of The Weirdness) to discuss the Devil, Unitarians, which car philanderers drive, how to mess with first-year college students, and God’s intentions. Strangely, the conversation only gets heated when everyone starts talking about literary criticism. I eventually make a point.
I sit down with author/comedian Baratunde Thurston to talk about his book, How To Be Black. Joined by the great Marcus Parks (the producer of this very podcast), I ask a few huge questions about race and Baratunde (sometimes) assures me I’m not a terrible person. We talk about all-black lunch tables, what words you shouldn’t use, and…of course, Delilah. Basically, we solve every problem concerning inequality in under an hour (not really).
Today on the Two-Book Minimum podcast, comedian/author Dave Hill (Tasteful Nudes) joins me to discuss manliness, Rock memoirs, and physically impossible sexual acts. Christian Finnegan (Comedy Central, Are We There Yet?) talks to us about Morrissey, how the human body works, and a few thoughts on sports.
Adelle Waldman (author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.) sits down to talk about relationships, writing from a male perspective, and bad blowjobs while Jermaine Fowler (MTV2’s Guy Code) asks Dan how often he has sex right before doing a comedy show. Reading! Sex! Love! What’s not to like?
I would like to write a best-seller. However, I want to write something that's actually GOOD and the two don't often go together. Do you understand? Btw, only leave pieces of your soul in indestructible objects.
You most certainly CAN write something good that attracts a wide audience. You should never try to merely mimic the taste of a large group of people (that will look derivative or worse, like you’re pandering) but you can write super-entertaining fiction that is also true to your voice I think. And yes. That is the important lesson from Harry Potter!