When it comes to the world of writing, the biggest mistake I see to date is those who don’t read deciding they want to be writers. It’s sort of pitiful. Those who haven’t paid their dues by reading other authors, do not know how to establish the rhythm, the plot, and their English is generally very poor.
Many times, instead of “writing-to-the-story” … they write towards a MOVIE. Because these would-be writers spent a greater amount of time watching TV and movies rather than reading. I don’t know what to do about it. Chances are much higher, just in the last decade — that if you randomly pick a book off the shelf you’ll get a dud. It’s also possible I’m becoming less tolerant of bad writing as I get older.
In days gone by, would at least check out the story to see if there was any fresh idea there. Now I just go “frack you.” Couldn’t bother to dedicate the time to read books before you write them? That’s like a person who wants only the receiving end of any deal.
Receiving the pass with never passing the basketball
Having someone cook for you and never cooking for them
Having someone taste for you and never tasting for them
Always having to be the one to make coffee in the breakroom, because nobody else will bother to do it.
(Yea, I have a lot of pent-up animosity there.)
Point is, that with no prior reading experience on their part, and the poor moral values that writing without being a reader indicates; then right off the bat, are looking at a person you would rather NOT have speaking to you. A person that has NOTHING to teach you, except that “gi-me … gi-me!” is still alive in the universe. And so we have volumes of writing that are essentially useless, unless you go for the 20 ways to NOT do something approach.
Many of these poor novels have shock elements and a sort of random in-and-out of characters coming and going (like on a stage), with little or no thematic content, no character development, and no “story-telling voice” — a rhythm or cadence to speech.
Most story-tellers don’t realize they are doing it, but will choose that which they agree with and speak in those grooves or ruts of diction. For instance, Stephen King isn’t ‘interesting’ because he pens horror. He’s interesting because he ‘agrees’ with Watership Down while doing it. (Just an example, I could never pin-point that sort of thing.) But what am saying is the story-telling rhythm he uses, belies that which HE read and uses for his own voice. Many and most times it becomes a combination of things.
Each time a book I used heavily gets popped to the forefront, like “Lord of the Rings.” — then suddenly more people are able to understand me. Which is a little disgruntling, because you were talking all along! lol … so few alive these days have read the Wizard of Oz volumes, for instance. When we don’t “recycle” volumes, we stop understanding our elders.
Or rather, they stop understanding us. So there is a much bigger picture here, than just “poor literature” and the publishing houses that support printing inexperienced writers.
All builds. It all constructs one upon the other, to where language and understanding is the bridge between differing lives.
It’s how we do things, in the English/Latin culture; differing lives and choices, with stronger bridges of communication. We aren’t all doing the same thing as our neighbors every day. We aren’t marching in rows of conformed dictate. Instead, the bond and community is within communication and the facets of decision-making based on the moralistic value of story. Not pre-determined values for every situation.
In this way, we are free to change and have changing situations. Changing environments and a reactionary process that does not preclude influence, but rather incorporates collective understandings through centuries of communication and thought — into each and every individual decision, WHILE making innovation part of new decisions and new life-changing directions.
It is not a small thing. Reading/Literature is not a small thing. Why we have a culture that outpaces just about every other reactionary process. So when experienced writers tell you that you NEED TO BE a reader before you can write — they mean it. I am not going to take advice on how to chart unknown waters, from a person who can barely navigate their own bathtub.
AND I get that having someone sit in front of a pulpit each Sunday, AND listen to a pre-ordained (pun!) rhythm in sermon-form is a way to “administer” certain rhythm-use without the “difficulty” of reading books. Why do I capitalize some whole words? Because that’s how the sermons “talked” in the church I had as a child. Why is the pulpit set up higher, making the speaker figuratively 10–11– 12 feet tall? It is a psychological mechanism, almost a hypnosis — which puts a listener into the realm of pattern-uptake for those rhythms and speech.
I could go on, but you get the drift. I am VERY well aware that my own speech patterns “in-type” are almost identical to that which was dished out from a Lutheran pulpit. However, behind that I have even stronger notes of Tolkien, Dickens, Shakespeare, and yes, even Stephen King and Janet Evanovich. Am gifted — or cursed — with VERY strong impressionistic reactions.
If I read Shakespeare for just a few hours, all — and I mean ALL — of my thoughts-via-word are bouncing in iambic pentameter. If I listen to BBC, they are doing a British accent. But that really isn’t my point.
My point is … Read. In some ways, it slows the reactionary process for language and slows the change of language over time. But this does two things: 1. Makes it so that better communication with other cultures is possible. 2. Makes it so communication between different age ranges within our own culture will improve.
And my other point, is please don’t write professionally unless you read a great deal. There is no way to fudge that. It’s not like lying on an interview, the very structure of your wording tell the reader exactly how you — the author — stands in relation to the reader and their own reading experience. We know what you are, we know what you did — and it’s actually kind of embarrassing to open up a book and find that kind of inexperience. Like catching somebody with their drawers down.
Insulting and embarrassing at the same time, to be faced with an imature writer is like finding a person who sincerely believes they are gorgeous … but the reality tells a very different story.