Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's not enough to write well

I am in no mood to try to be clever about today's encouragement, y'all, because it is such a bad attitude or habit to fall into that it's just not funny.

People who aspire to write - who do not READ!

This week I was served another heapin' helpin' (hey, just because I read don't mean I don't like a good sit come rerun) of the tired ol' refrain - (insert genre or arena of publishing here - Romance, Science Fiction, Christian, Literary, E-format, Fortune Cookie) just isn't any good. Usually followed by some justification: The publishers appeal to the ignorant masses. The publisher let a small audience bully them into playing it safe. The writers are hacks. They are all the same formula. And they cost too much.

The list goes on and is usually thrown out by someone who in the next few weeks, days, hours, breaths, will voice either their intention of changing all that with their ground breaking works, or to ask people to read their work as part of a 'beta' testing process. They want to be read but they don't want to be reading. The logic makes my brain itch.
Please, if you don't respect the written word enough to buy or read other people's work, and broadly, even things you are sure you won't like, then you need to respect your own words enough to temper them with intelligence and not repeat a bunch of cliches about the miserable state of fiction (which you are not reading widely!)

I also had the privilege this week to read just the opening pages of works in progress or upcoming releases of dozens of published Christian authors in different genres, many I never read. The result was humbling. And wonderful. And a big ol' kick in the seat of the pants to take a look at my own first page and get it RIGHT. I'm not talking massive overhauls. I'm talking moving dialog to the exact right spot. Adding a word here, a sentence there. That's the power of respecting and using words, it often takes so little to make a big difference.

Simply put, reading makes you a better writer. Understanding the power of words, makes you a better reader. Being a better reading makes you a... well, you get it.

The thought for the week is that it's time to flex those reading muscles, pick up some new vocabulary and kick your creativity into high gear.

I always say - the best cure for a closed mind is an open book!