On So-Called “Exceptional Authors”

Daulton Dickey.

{The following post is in response to this article.}

I recently read an article on the dos and donts of plotting novels. At the end of the article, the writer, Amanda Patterson, said, “If you are an exceptional author, you may not need a plot. The rest of us do.”

To my mind, this statement represents one of two—or one or two—attitudes: false modesty or condescension. And it also entails that those who aren’t “exceptional” are “not-exceptional,” which leads me to interpret the above statement as condescending, not falsely modest.

I reject the assertion that exceptional authors by nature don’t need plot, and I also reject the notion that everyone else does.

In fact, I’ll go one further: I reject the notion of “exceptional authors”—as popularly conceived.

In this context, “exceptional authors” must mean “people who don’t play by our rules.” I will use “exceptional authors”…

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