When writers break down

I thought Laurell K. Hamilton’s first book was pretty good. By the third, I was bored. I didn’t finish the fifth and haven’t looked at anything of hers since, as it was clear to me that her writing had degraded into bad, thinly veiled vampire porn for women.

It’s always good to know that one’s reading instincts are still sound, as Chris Byrne comments on her latest book at John Scalzi’s Whatever tend to indicate:

I read “Mistrals Kiss” a few days ago, and it is one of the worst things I’ve ever read. The entirety of the “novel” (which in reality isn’t even a short story; having perhaps five pages of material that isn’t sex scenes) takes place when the protagonist is walking from one room to another room a few minutes away; during which time she stops to have sex I beleive five times with eight different men.. or it might have been four times with six, I honestly can’t remember right now. The total time covered by the book is less than two hours. Two hours, a few hundred yards, a half dozen sex acts, 220 pages, $20.

Honestly, how can she claim anything other than hackstatus at this point?

Once an author loses his fastball, he tends to go downhill alarmingly quickly. Success actually seems to increase the odds of this happening, rather like a television show where the characters devolve into caricatures mindlessly repeating their signature phrases. Regardless of what field you’re in, it’s important to remember that today’s successes are often the seeds of tomorrow’s failures.