James Patterson – odi et amo

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I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished. I’m very conscious of an audience. I’m very conscious that I’m an entertainer. Something like 73 percent of my readers are college graduates, so you can’t condescend to people. You’ve got to tell them a story that they will be willing to pay money to read. – James Patterson

Odi et amo is the first line of a poem by the Roman author Catullus. It means “I love and I hate”, which may seem a strange title for what is basically a book review, but then I’ve just read Sail by James Patterson.

I was given a set of three James Patterson books for Christmas. I read the first, Cross Country, some time ago and I quite liked it. It’s a twisty fast paced thriller which is what I felt like at the time. Sail is very similar in that it is also a twisty fast paced thriller. I actually thought it was the better book, particularly as there were a couple of twists, particularly at the end, that I really didn’t see coming and I like that.

And yet there is something that I don’t feel comfortable with and that is the writing method. I heard James Patterson being interviewed on the radio a few weeks ago and a lot of what he said made sense. I was actually really impressed by his passion to get kids reading and how much the parents have to take responsibility. But then he started talking about how his books are written, basically by him coming up with a framework and then having a team of writers to actually do the writing, and it just felt wrong.

I’ve got no problem with people working together. In fact Sail has another author’s name, Howard Roughan, on the front as well as James Patterson, although it’s actually quite hard to see being blue on a blue background:

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I think what bothers me is that in many cases the other writers aren’t credited at all. It is impossible to know how much James Patterson has actually written. Of course ghost writers are nothing new, but it’s one thing with a celebrity autobiography and quite another for a novel.

You could say it’s just pulp fiction, mass produced for the mass market, so what does it matter? After all, Colonel Sanders doesn’t do all the cooking himself and neither does Ronald McDonald. But it does matter. I totally agree with Patterson’s passion for reading and libraries and bookshops, I think it is fantastic that someone so successful is standing up for those things. But I think he should write his own books.

So: odi et amo

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4 thoughts on “James Patterson – odi et amo”

  1. A lot of writers are doing that now, coming up with a plot and characters and leaving the actual writing to someone else. It’s how Patterson ends up with so many books published at the end of the year, and why he’s made so much money at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for liking the post and stopping by my blog.

      It makes you wonder doesn’t it? I don’t really understand the motivation, other than making money of course, but then I’ve always thought that simply making money is the worst reason for doing anything.

      Like

    1. Glad you liked it and thanks for stopping by my blog.

      I heard about it on a radio interview and later wondered if I’d not understood it properly and had to look it up. Makes you wonder how much it happens with other authors.

      Liked by 1 person

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