Art by Adam on 2008-08-30 12:03

“When I read a novel that I really like, I feel as if I am in direct, personal communication with the author. I feel as if the author and I are on the same wavelength mentally, that we have a lot in common with each other, and that we could have an interesting conversation, or even a friendship, if the circumstances permitted it. When the novel comes to an end, I feel a certain letdown, a loss of contact. It is natural to want to recapture that feeling by reading other works by the same author, or by corresponding with him/her directly.


A novel represents years of hard work distilled into a few hundred pages, with all (or at least most) of the bad ideas cut out and thrown away, and the good ideas polished and refined as much as possible. Interacting with an author in person is nothing like reading his novels. Just about everyone who gets an opportunity to meet with an author in person ends up feeling mildly let down, and in some cases, grievously disappointed.”

From Why I am a Bad Correspondent by Neal Stephenson

2 comments per 'Authors'

  1. Cat says:

    I read this first paragraph, and then I thought back to the book I am currently wrapping up - Snow Crash. Then I read “by Neal Stephenson” at the bottom of your blog post and was terribly amused.

  2. Meredith says:

    That link I was talking about is in my journal. I have written my own answers (half done, so far), and if you’d like to answer them also, please do so before reading mine.

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