"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

New discussion: what makes a writer good or bad?

To be honest, I think the classification shouldn't exist. While it's true, that some writers are naturally more gifted than others, I think a lot of it stems from how much you're willing to put in, and how much you're willing to go running after it.

If publication is the measure of being 'good' or 'bad', then there's the problem right there. There are a lot of writers out there because of time and circumstance just haven't been discovered, and probably, in most instances never will. Does that mean they aren't 'good'? I don't think so.

A lot of good writers are rejected by publishers, not because their work isn't good - it could be the best ever - but a lot depends on its perception, and the timing, and on whether it's going to be received well by a rapidly undemocratic audience.

But, and I'm going out on a limb here, I'd say that a lot of it depends on the individual's own persistence.

And sure, contacts matter, especially in the publishing world. But at the end of the day, it's just down to one thing: how does the work sit with the publisher? Because if it doesn't sit with his/her appetite, it's not going to stand a chance at publication, unless you self-publish and do you really want to go down that path? There's nothing wrong with it of course - a lot of people self-publish - but although it's not a statement, it's the rule of thumb: self-publication is the mark of a failed author, who couldn't be published through traditional means. So if you want to keep your respect, you might want to think twice about it.

Of course, there are some glaringly bad writers out there...but then, they're the ones who get others to write their books for them! We should thank the ghostwriters of the world, they ease our palette just a little, and really, it's the wee bit that counts.

Will write more on this, later.

I'd ask you to discuss this in the comments section, but really, I know better by now. The audience of this blog, like its corresponding site, is largely silent. Oh well. I've been living with the silent treatment for a little more than a year now.

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