Why do so many perfectly nice people make such pompous asses of themselves when they sit down at a typewriter? – Dean R Koontz.
Even if you’re not a fan of Dean Koontz’s, I would recommend finding a copy of his book, How To Write Best Selling Fiction. You won’t find it in book stores. It’s out of print but still considered one of the best resources for new writers. Check used book stores, or go online ( That’s where I found mine). Now back to the pompous asses.
What Mr. Koontz was getting at, was new authors and not so new authors sit down and try to write A Tale Of Two Cities, The Scarlett Letter, or Moby Dick. The idea of sitting down and attempting to write ‘important and lasting literature’ is pretentious and self-defeating. Keep in mind, these books are seldom read these days.
If an author ignores the masses and refuses to write a novel with popular appeal, if he chooses to live solely or primarily by the grace of academe, then he will die by academe.
What’s the problem with Academe? The standards are considerably less stringent.
- Academe views a plot as having little or no use. It is restrictive, impacting the writer’s imagination.
- Academe does not worry about pace or filling a story with action.
- Literary novels seldom have genuine heroes and heroines. The characters are almost always weak, flawed, and unlikeable.
Charles Dickens was considered a hack in his day. He was paid to thrill the masses by producing melodrama. His stories were entertaining and relatable. They have been kept alive for so long by the masses, that the academe finally had to admit that he was a great writer.
Remember, the masses read storytellers. They don’t read academically-oriented novelists. They want stories that speak to them.
When you write to please yourself, you are writing to please an individual. When you write to please an audience, you are writing to please a lot of individuals. When you write to please academe, you are writing to please an institution.
Something to think about.