Recently I did a guest post for Ray Gates that you can find here.
He was nice enough to return the favour and today we will have our first ever guest post!
My Love-Hate Relationship with Matthew Reilly. A guest post by Raymond Gates.
When my NaNoWriMo buddy and colleague-in-ink asked me what the first book that gave me a bone-deep jealousy for someone else’s writing skills was, a single thought resonated through my mind like a Tibetan temple bell rung by a monk newly introduced to speed.
I fucking hate Matthew Reilly.
It didn’t start out like that. When I had my first taste of his story-telling style I found it not just palatable, but quite easy to devour. His simplistic style lends itself so well to the action-thriller genre that he achieves something not many writers pull off successfully: he creates pace. Not just in terms of the story, but also how quickly you read each line, each paragraph, each chapter, until the book vanishes into the wee hours of the night. It is a neat trick, and something I’m certainly envious of.
But after I’d digested a few books, I started to realise something. It was around about the hundred-and-fiftieth time I’d read that someone got shot and their head exploded in a fountain of blood like an over-ripe melon. And as I sat there wondering if anyone was ever going to die without their head exploding in a fountain of blood like an over-ripe melon, it occurred to me that, well, dare I say it? Matthew Reilly really isn’t that great a writer.
And that pissed me off.
Writing, or maybe more importantly, being read, had always been the seemingly unachievable dream. I grew up reading King and Barker, Masterton and Lumley, Tolkien, Eddings and Salvatore. How the hell could I possibly aspire to sit on the same shelf as any of them?
And here was Reilly; best-seller, hundreds of thousands of copies sold, discussing movie rights, with a writing style that, by his own admittance, earned him countless rejections from editors everywhere. I couldn’t believe it. I started thinking my creative writing assignment for ninth-grade English class could probably get published if his stuff could. I mean, if he could do it, why couldn’t I?
That’s why I love Matthew Reilly.
To me, Matthew Reilly is the embodiment of my belief that writing is a skill that gets us past editors, but it’s the story that connects us with readers. Anyone can learn to write well; story-telling, however, is a gift, and you either have it or you don’t. He has it, and whether you love or hate his work, there is no arguing with his success, and his connection to his readers. To me, that’s what writing is all about: telling a story, and sharing it with others. And while the big names will always be the ones I gaze upon with admiration and devotion from my place beneath their pedestals, it’s the Matthew Reilly’s of the world that continue to inspire me to keep chasing my own dream.
You should come too. There’s plenty of room, and it promises to be a hell of a trip.
Raymond Gates is an Aboriginal Australian writer whose dreams mostly belong in the dark fiction and horror realm. He has published several short stories including The Little Red Man in Ticonderoga Press’ Australian vampire anthology, Dead Red Heart. He continues to write short fiction and threatens to write a novel. Look into his mind at: http://raymondgates.com, and follow his journey via: