One explanation for why Van Lustbader’s Bourne books are so bad – and they are truly terrible – is that as a sober and professional author of made-to-order literature Van Lustbader is the wrong man to craft entertainments whose major selling point was that they appeared to have been written by someone who was seriously unhinged. Lacking Ludlum’s inspired sense of lunacy as well as his convulsive plotting, Van Lustbader sucks all the fun out of books whose appeal was never their plausibility. His world is a dry, flat place where the action only moves in one direction and you can spot a plot twist from a mile away.
Boldface emphasis added by me.
Take a set of accounting books. The first accountant who was keeping them can drop dead and any other accountant can come in and pick them up.
This is not true with writing at all.
Yet the Suits think it’s the “property” that matters, not the creator, not the vision that inspired it, not the unique mind that impelled it.
I won’t even mention the writers whose works have been graverobbed to score more bucks for the people who are interchangeable — all the Suits.
Just as in The Village, any Suit can drop dead and there will be a new one — a new Number Two — to pop up to take his or her place.
This is how to do it, from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand:
Cameron nodded and kept silent for a long time. Then he said:
“You’ll close up the office, Howard. You’ll let them keep the furniture for their rent. But you’ll take the drawing that’s on the wall in my room there and you’ll ship it to me. Only that. You’ll burn everything else. All the papers, the files, the drawings, the contracts, everything.”
“Yes,” said Roark.
[. . .]
That evening, Roark went to Cameron’s closed office. He did not turn on the lights. He made a fire in the Franklin heater in Cameron’s room, and emptied drawer after drawer into the fire, not looking down at them. The papers rustled dryly in the silence, a thin odor of mold rose through the dark room, and the fire hissed, crackling, leaping in bright streaks. At times a white flake with charred edges would flutter out of the flames. He pushed it back with the end of a steel ruler.
There were drawings of Cameron’s famous buildings and of buildings unbuilt; there were blueprints with the thin white lines that were girders still standing somewhere; there were contracts with famous signatures; and at times, from out of the red glow, there flashed a sum of seven figures written on yellowed paper, flashed and went down, in a thin burst of sparks.
From among the letters in an old folder, a newspaper clipping fluttered to the floor. Roark picked it up. It was dry, brittle and yellow, and it broke at the folds, in his fingers. It was an interview given by Henry Cameron, dated May 7, 1892. It said: “Architecture is not a business, not a career, but a crusade and a consecration to a joy that justifies the existence of the earth.” He dropped the clipping into the fire and reached for another folder.
He gathered every stub of pencil from Cameron’s desk and threw them in also.
He stood over the heater. He did not move, he did not look down; he felt the movement of the glow, a faint shudder at the edge of his vision. He looked at the drawing of the skyscraper that had never been built, hanging on the wall before him.
It’s all yours.
Put a Burn Clause in your Will. No adaptations, no spinoffs, no nothing.
Leave them nothing!