The Guardian had an article on Tuesday by Levi Asher, the New York writer who founded Literary Kicks. LitKicks here is a website that highlights contributions of poetry and prose.
Asher's article, titled "How To Avoid Author Scandals," offers eight rules for writers to remember:
1. Do not use the word "memoir" unless you mean it.
2. If you're not sure whether what you're writing is a memoir or not, guess what? It's a novel.
3. No more than half a page of plagiarism per book.
4. Don't make up exact dates that you can't remember. Instead, be general: "The most important day of my life was the day of my son's birth, in the summer of 2005 ..."
5. Just say no to sending a friend out in public with a wig as you.
6. If you're in a flame war and you're about to go sock puppet, take a 10-minute break and go to a coffee shop without a wi-fi facility. Maybe the walk will cool you down.
7. Go ahead and make up dialogue. Everybody except Tom Wolfe does.
8. Pick a name. "Benjamin Black is John Banville" is just not a good look.
Readers of this blog will recognize the scandals and just plain quirkiness that prompted Asher's list.
Rule #1 refers to Timothy Patrick Barrus AKA Native American writer Nasdijj among others. You can read about him here.
Both Rule #2 and Rule #4 might apply to James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces. You can read about him here.
Kaavya Viswanathan needed to read Rule #3 before writing her first novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. Read about her here.
Laura Albert should have read Rule #5 before sending her half sister out in a wig to pretend to be Albert's alter ego J.T. Leroy. Read about her here.
If reporter Michael Hiltzik had read Rule #6, he might still be writing his column and Internet blog for the Los Angeles Times. Read his story here.
Rule #7 probably refers to Tom Wolfe's last novel, I am Charlotte Simmons. After that novel, Wolfe had to leave his publisher of forty-two years to get the advance he wanted for his next book. Read a sample review here.
Asher obviously is not a fan of an author taking multiple names in order to write in different genres. Here's a blogger who feels the same way.
Reading Asher's article was like taking a stroll down memory lane to revisit some of the most infamous scandals of the last two years.