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At a workshop not too many years ago a newer writer began to condemn a best selling novel, pointing out all its flaws and jagged edges. I listened for a long time, nodding.

“All those things are true,” I said. And gave him the C.C. Finlay quote. “But until you learn what the good parts were that excited the reader, you’re always going to be bitterly upset about what is wrong with that bestseller. Learn to spot what worked in that book, and you’ll be able to move forward. And you’ll be a lot less upset all the time as well.”

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Tobias Buckell on “The fate of today’s book bloggers”

The C.C. Finlay quote: “A novel doesn’t excite readers because you took all the bad stuff out of it, it excites them because of all the good stuff that’s in it, regardless of the bad.”

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