Have you noticed how many writers are publishing marketable books with mass appeal but it’s hard to find writing that really gives you a punch in the gut? I’m in writing groups that focus on publishing 2 books a year. The quality is shit. There might not be typos, but the writing is superficial and bland. You aren’t going to read a sentence in 300 pages that stands out and makes you think. It’s garbage in and garbage out.
When I fell in love with reading it wasn’t because I could consume think books, one after the other, with the story brushing past me like walking through a crowd. I fell in love with reading because of the books that looked me right in the eye, shook me by the shoulders and said, You need to know this. Or the books that grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into a journey I couldn’t stop following even if it frightened and worried me. Or the books that made my heart feel so full, I never wanted to stop reading. Or the books I had to read through tears, blinking and squinting to read the next line.
Those are the books I want to read, and those are the books I want to write. To get better at writing, I’m going to spend more time reading writers who meet this standard, and only writers who meet this standard. I will be writing reviews of the books and stories and sharing with you why I think they work, what tools of craft the writer used to create a certain effect and how these tools can be used in our writing.
I will be interviewing living writers who can pull this off and sharing their work with you.
Art is dying. Literature has become one more sales tool. The current tastes favor one ideology and there is no one to challenge it as the publishing houses, writing programs are all producing more of the same. The scene only allows those who agree. Dissenters are pushed out.
Thankfully, we can still self publish but that is small comfort when we sit with our books that have no route for distribution. If a book is published and no one can read it, no critic can review it, no bookstore can carry it, how can it possibly make a sound?
We need to challenge the machine of mass produced, processed thoughts.
Writing the best work I can is one step, but without the other foot taking a step, we go in circles. The other foot must support and promote the quality art and literature of others.
I’ve started by creating Bare Naked Writing where I will share writing on craft, writers, and other narrative art forms via this newsletter and twitter only. This will be a growing and evolving project. Eventually, I’d like to host podcasts, interviews with writers, and also invite other writers to contribute.
I am excited about focusing more on craft and also introducing you, hopefully, to some new writers I admire.