I wanted to start a thread to get us to look critically at our idols in the literary world. Too often when we love someone's work, we overlook flaws in that person's writing in our haste to declare the work 'perfect.' This sets a dangerous standard in our heads, one which our own writing can never meet. As a result, we risk becoming discouraged or giving up when we fall short.

Every writer is fallible, and not all of their failings succumb to the editor's red pen. Let's allow our heroes to be human, and find some examples where they too fall short of the Standard of Perfection. Find me an awkward phrase, a plot hole or a character trope in a piece you otherwise love. Please stick to authors you admire (or at least respect). The object here is to make our heroes' success seem more attainable -- not to smack down the hacks.

I'll start: Norman Mailer's immense talent snagged him two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Book Award over a sixty-year career. But somehow he managed to doze off while writing the opening sentence to Harlot's Ghost:
On a late-winter evening in 1983, while driving through the fog along the Maine coast, recollections of old campfires began to drift into the March mist, and I thought of the Abnaki Indians of the Algonquin tribe who dwelt near Bangor a thousand years ago.
I can forgive Mailer's dozing (and his editor's); I can barely keep my eyes open reading that opener. But over-caffeinated reviewers were quick to point out that, grammatically, our hero is telling us that it was the recollections of old campfires driving, not him!

Now, let's all run back to our WIPs and find a phrase where we've mixed up our subjects. Once we've ironed those phrases out, let's pat ourselves on the back that we've got one up on Norman Mailer!

Any others? Remember, let's keep these positive.