Writers are funny people. But people who want to be writers are often really, really weird. Here's the strangest thing I've observed about them: some of them don't read. Yes, it is true. I know it's hard to believe. I've gone to conferences, met Writer X who is working on a mystery, and discovered that Writer X can't name a mystery writer other than him or herself. Kooky talk.
Here's where it really gets toxic: the erstwhile writer who hasn't read much since college. This is where you get novels replete with "reporter" characters, relating the actions of the main (interesting) characters. This worked for Pushkin and Balzac. Heck, it worked for Fitzgerald. You can stop now. Go out and buy some contemporary literature. Go read some Palahniuk, some Chabon, some Lethem, some Safran-Foer, some Steven Hall. See what's working for agents, editors, and readers today.
College professors just can't buy that many books.