Feeling rather proud of myself this morning, knowing my latest book, Holy War, was completed yesterday, I thought now was the perfect time to sit down and put some words to paper.
Today, I'd like to talk about something that's been niggling away at me for a while and that is the assumption that writing is and always will be, a rule-defined, structured, and tightly controlled exercise.
I've had a few discussions about this with several people and there is this prevailing attitude that all books for sale, must conform to a set of rigid structures, as regards style and grammar in particular. I want to challenge that assumption somewhat today.
I want to question why, a living, evolving language such as our own beautiful language should be hide-bound by arbitrarily decided structures and styles.
It seems to me and indeed to some of my colleagues and friends that this insistence on uniformity is stifling some of the incredible creativity that is out there, in the independent author world.
Who decides what is "right and proper" in the written word? Who determines what is the style, format and grammar for published books?
The answer was obvious, it's our education system and the big-five publishers. So that led me on to consider what is the demographic of the people that hold the power in the Education System and the Publishing Houses. Again, the answer was obvious - US! The Baby-Boomers. We are the ones who have determined what is proper English and how it should be presented in the written form.
We had less distractions than the succeeding generations and therefore reading books was a fine and enjoyable pastime, given our limited choices.
We, as a generation, have become extremely protective of our version of the written word and every day I see numerous posts berating the authors of excellent stories, for shoddy, structure, style and grammar. If there's a phrase that fries my brains it is; "more show, less tell". I'm convinced half the people that use it don't have a clue what they're talking about - they're just parroting something they've heard and think it sounds as if they are literary experts, in some way.
Look, the succeeding generations from us "experts" in the field of writing are not writing or reading as much as we did and the reason for that, it seems to me, is talented, young authors are frequently shot down in flames by "know-it-all Baby-Boomers' who fanatically believe our version of "good writing" is the only acceptable version - BOLLOCKS I SAY!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE STORY and I, for one, am sick and tired of self righteous, self-appointed rulers of the literary world telling me and many others what is good and what is bad. Yours and my time as authors is limited. We are already reaching the end of our reign as self-appointed grammar nazi's (for want of a better term), so please stop trying to hog the limelight until your dying breath and allow the new, next, undiscovered authors to come shining through.
If we want the joy of reading to be continued into the remainder of this century, then we have to let go our vicious grip on the reins of the publishing world and allow the bright, new stars to shine. It isn't all about US! - although I know that will come as an enormous shock to many of my fellow indie authors.
"There are just so many bad books on Amazon these days".
While, I won't dispute there are some, (I like to call them confidence tricksters) who try to fool us into buying books that don't even tell a story, I would offer the thought that there is NO SUCH THING as a bad book. A book is a collection of someone's hopes, dreams and aspirations and can, in my humble opinion never be called intrinsically bad.
There are certainly books I don't want to read, but a simple scan of the blurb will usually confirm that to me. Like a television channel I don't want to watch, I'm in control and I can change channels or indeed, not read that book. Books are the collective pool of a generation's wisdom, so I cannot, in all sincerity, declare a book to be "bad".
Note, I'm not talking about spelling here. Not proofreading for spelling mistakes is still a cardinal sin in my mind, but structure, grammar, style, that's an individual author's choice, surely.
ENGLISH HAS SUCH POWER AND MAJESTY TO EVOKE EMOTION AND TO PAINT MIND PICTURES THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO EMBRACE IT FULLY, IN ALL ITS ITERATIONS .
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME