I've been reading up on advice to write my first novel, and have seen an odd disconnect between critique in academic circles, and general appeal. Now, I know with a lot of things there is the case of "Critically acclaimed, but flopped at the box office", and vice versa, but what I've been seeing are conflicting points of view in writing method. For example, I read one academic, a long-time writing professor at some high end college, and he says that you need to spend several pages describing paint drying to make your book interesting. Another professor takes examples of cliches, says they are irredeemable, then condemns several all time best selling books for using them. He then goes on to suggest (to his writing students), instead of writing about a madman, or a hero, to write about a part time painter who struggles to keep the lights on. To me, this seems boring. You'd think if people were so interesting in reading about some Joe's everyday life, the professors' books about renting an apartment and having a dayjob would be flying off the shelves... But they're not. On the other hand, advice from actual best selling authors usually is along the lines of, "keep your writing simple, and just write." Things like adverbs, overabundance of description, and dull/unimportant plot and details are all to be avoided. Whenever I read a classic book or story, it's always full of the things the academics say are bad, and whenever I read an academic's book, it's so mottled with fluff it's incoherent. So my question is- Is there some hidden wisdom I'm missing here, or are these professors just talking out their asses because they're paid for the draft? Should I change my writing to suit what the academics say is 'good', or should I continue to take the advice of the authors?