Writing is like sex — it’s exhausting, it involves more bodily fluids than anyone is entirely comfortable with, and the only way to get better is with practice. That’s why every writer has one or two dark secrets lurking in a bottom desk drawer somewhere. Some are unfortunate enough to have those secrets housed in publisher’s offices and the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Maybe think twice about querying that first novel, lest it wind up among …

6

Dan Brown’s Love Advice Book For Women

You know Dan Brown for writing pseudo-factual novels about barely disguised versions of himself taking down Big Religion. But back when he was still nothing but an everyday weirdo obsessed with Jesus’ junk, he tried his hand at a book about mortal junk. In 1995, he wrote 187 Men To Avoid: A Survival Guide For The Romantically Frustrated Woman, which is a refreshingly straightforward volume, considering the source. It’s literally a list of 187 men to avoid.

Sadly, it’s not a list of specific men who have personally wronged Dan Brown. It appears to mostly consist of things that shake his fragile masculinity, like “Men who insist they’d be happy to take a male birth control pill if one existed” and “Men who own dogs smaller than cats.” Yet he also demands that men be impeccably groomed, as “Men who wear clip-on ties” and “Men who don’t separate their white and colored laundry” also make the list. Make up your mind, Brown. Should men be cartoonish caricatures of masculinity or mincing sissies in frilly aprons sorting the wash? Let it not be said that Brown is oblivious, though — the list also includes “Men who write self-help books for women.”

Brown included that crack even though he published the book under a female pseudonym. He knew that no one would buy a book like this unless it was written by a woman (which … didn’t stop him from writing it). His choice of pseudonym is exactly as creative as you would expect: Danielle Brown.

Berkley Trade
“That name contains ‘Dan Brown’!” exclaimed noted symbologist Robert Langdon thoughtfully.

It seems strange that the book wasn’t credited to his future wife, who actually helped write it, but she received no credit at all, for what are presumably very good reasons. The couple was shocked that the book wasn’t better-received, selling only a few thousand copies before going out of print, and Brown now avoids acknowledging it for similarly mysterious reasons.

5

Stephen King’s School Shooter Revenge Fantasy

Stephen King is one of the most popular horror writers of all time, and he’s written about everything from the haunted trunk of a Buick to how much it would suck to be stuck in an overturned porta-potty. He’s pretty down with his entire canon … aside from that one book he wrote while high, or that other one he wrote while high. There’s one more major exception, however, and its name is Rage.

Signet Books
Stranger Things Season 3?

Eventually, King found his writing career so easy that he decided to start an entirely new one, and began publishing novels as Richard Bachman. One of the first books under that name was a novel that King first wrote as a dejected 19-year-old. It follows an abused kid who takes a gun to school, kills his teacher, and plays weird games with the other students. Eventually they all fall in love with him. It’s what Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris would have considered slash fiction. Which is the reason Stephen King came to regret writing it.

A copy of Rage was found in the locker of one school shooter, post-shooting. Feeling that the book was a “possible accelerant” for troubled youth, King ripped it off the shelves faster than you could say “Tommyknockers.” A total recall of a Stephen King book meant so very, very much lost revenue, but it was for the greater good. Besides, that dude is never gonna hurt for money, and if he ever does, he can churn out a quick “haunted ottoman or whatever” story and be rolling deep again.

4

Michael Lewis’ Column On The Woes Of Marrying Hot Women

Michael Lewis wrote the source material for future Oscar fare like Moneyball and The Big Short. He also wrote an article in 1994 for The New Republic, titled “Scenic Beauty.” The beauty in question wasn’t Yellowstone, but his then-wife Kate Bohner. He describes her in a way not dissimilar to how Stephanie Meyer would describe Edward Cullen, using phrases like “Niagara of her thick golden hair.”

New Republic

His chief complaint about his wife? The army of men who also think she’s pretty. It’s an absolute nightmare, he assures us, lamenting the “weird degradation” of standing near a person with symmetrical features as other people insist on being nice to her. Weirdly, there’s no mention of the degradation she experiences at the hands of these barbarians. The person who most objectifies his wife appears to be Michael Lewis, who at one point compares her to actual scenery, likening her to “the itinerary of a sexual tour group.” Nowhere is this more apparent than an encounter with a construction crew straight out of a cartoon, about which Lewis comes to the exact wrong conclusion.

Of course, it couldn’t be that the men respect her more as his property than an independently functioning human being. That wouldn’t appeal to the ego he spent a full page stroking. She’s the bad guy here, threatening to destroy lives and incomes through the wicked act of existing. Is it any wonder their marriage lasted about as long as one of his books?

3

Mark Gatiss’ Homoerotica

If you know the name Mark Gatiss, it’s probably for the Doctor Who episode wherein the doctor fought Robin Hood with a spoon, or for co-creating Sherlock, thereby showing the world the bounty of Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones. Given that history, it may or may not surprise you to learn that Gatiss has written some manly erotica in his day.


At least twice as manly as the average straight porn.

The King’s Men, written under the perfectly crafted alias “Christian Fall,” follows a wealthy 17th-century young English man who somehow manages to hide his sexuality while boning half the hamlet, “including the submissive parish cleric.” All this covert humping masks the main character’s love for one particular young man, and in a tragic twist, the men wind up wielding spears on opposite sides of a battle.

There’s plenty of euphemistic spearing, too. Right from the opening chapter, we dive mouth-first onto some serious dick worship:

Smaller and underdeveloped, he felt weak and useless in the horseman’s powerful presence. He could see the thickness of the other’s cock through the soft leather of his short britches and felt a pang of jealousy.

We should also mention that Gatiss plays Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, in the show. So now you’re picturing that. We’re sorry (or you’re welcome, preferences depending).

2

Martin Amis’ Video Game Strategy Guide

Martin Amis is one of the greatest British novelists in history who didn’t write about hobbits or Harry Potter. He’s been called one of the 50 most influential writers in the world, but there’s one volume whose title will reduce him to a puddle of discontent if you so much as mention it. It’s a strategy guide to ’80s arcade games, titled Invasion Of The Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide To Battle Tactics, Big Scores And The Best Machine.


People used to get video game advice from books. Crazy, we know

Copies of the out-of-print guide regularly go for up to $250, and it’s easy to see why. It’s written exactly the way you’d expect Martin Amis to write a video game guide, and it’s delightful. Here’s his philosophical rumination on the age-old debate of risk versus reward in Pac-Man: Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties. Bag it.

It’s a work of art. Why he’s scrubbed this title from his bibliography, we will never understand.

1

Ian Fleming’s Tacit Endorsement Of Rape

If you haven’t seen The Spy Who Loved Me, you’re not qualified to be reading this website, and you need to go watch it before the authorities find you. Sure, it had a cheesy villain named Jaws whose teeth were made of metal, but that’s an Oscar-nominated film you’re talking about. But you might be surprised to learn the book version was slightly different from the film. And by “slightly different,” we mean that the main character wasn’t even Bond, but a Canadian woman named Vivienne Michel. Bond himself only makes a brief appearance at the very end. But there is a reason the movie version only took the title.

Female protagonists are great and all, but in the wrong hands, it can go very badly. If you want to see how little a man understands what’s like to be a woman, ask him to write a female character. Vivienne describes herself as “an attractive rat making headway in the rat-race,” and insists that every woman is hankering for “semi-rape,” that “they love to be taken,” musing that “it was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.” Considering that James Bond himself commits a whole lot of rape, “semi” and not, it feels like there might be an ulterior motive here.

At least Fleming had the decency to regret it. He was so embarrassed by the novel’s reception that he asked his publisher to never reprint it. In a letter to said publisher, Fleming explained that his attempt “to write a cautionary tale about Bond” — whom he insists should not be regarded as a hero — had “obviously gone very much awry.” That probably should have been clear to him the moment he wrote the term “semi-rape,” but hindsight is 20/20.

Abraham is lawyer living in Mexico. You can say hi to him on Twitter here, or visit his DeviantArt here.

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