When I came into blogging I thought of it as an arena where people could self-publish without having anyone filter out content based on perceived literary merit. Just made for me, considering that I could well have stayed on the dirty end of any such filter. Much later I realized that you could also criticize published books and there would be no-one filtering out your criticism as being ignorant or plain idiotic. There are a lot of people around even in blogosphere whose criticism is respected but past experience has made me feel that it was unlikely that I be counted among them.
Mind you, my criticism is always valid and deeply insightful. What I was worrying about was the petty-minded people who would end up criticizing the criticism. I mean how stupid can they get? When I criticized Rowling's and Tolkien's output saying, "Full of magic and other such unbelievable stuff" they were crazy enough to claim that it was fantasy and was expected to be full of magic and other such crap. Some people will say anything to defend themselves against valid criticism. I mean, there was even a guy who said that a critic ought to be commenting about whether or not the author narrated effectively the story that he wanted to tell rather than telling the author what sort of story the critic would have preferred to read. That fool did not even know that criticism should not be criticized!
If that were all there was I could have merrily continued in my critical ways. Unfortunately, people do not even have an idea about character consistency. When I made comments about characters acting unnaturally, they claim that everyone in the world cannot behave in the same way. Why, they even went so far as to say that had I been criticizing the Mahabharat I would have said, "Ved Vyas did not pay attention to his characters. He portrays Yudhishtir as a righteous person and then writes an incident where Yudhishtir stakes his wife in a dice game. Inconsistent characterization mars the story". Of course I would have. So what if it is an epic? Had I been the editor, I would never have published that book without asking Mr. Vyas for extensive re-edits and would have turned a deaf ear to all his pleas that characters act abnormally in stress situations.
But what really takes the cake is that people do not even accept the obvious problem inherent in ending a story properly. When a couple have marital problems and end up trying to resolve them by themselves where is the drama in that? After all, it is expected that the couple have to resort to resolve it eventually by themselves so where is the fun in reading about that? Now if you had a carload of people with a barrel-load of vodka sloshing in their veins and a truck-load of problems in their heads teetering over the edge of a construction pit and if God talked to them and solved their problems, that is drama ! I know there is always some idiot somewhere who will claim that I am confusing drama and melodrama but then I do not care for the opinions of people who do not even know that criticism cannot be criticized.
Those were all in the bad old days when my criticism was only vocal and people felt free to give me the horse's laugh. Now that I have my blog, a license to criticize books and there is no-one around to question my credentials, I am free to give the world of literature the benefit of my insight. As, indeed, you would have noticed my doing over the recent past.
If an author thinks that he can get away by writing exactly the expected sort of story with characters behaving on expected lines and dramatic endings, he is sorely mistaken. I would only have to say, "The tale seems written to suit the market and lacks soul. The characters are monochrome and the striving to create a dramatic twist has rendered the ending unbelievable". After all, I am not one of those critics who shies away from voicing negative criticism.
With such an insightful person around, it is a wonder that authors do not take my advice while writing their books. Just goes to show how little they know about the art of writing.