Writing—A lost art?

I’ve been very busy over the last year or so, working on the fantasy novel that I’ve wanted to write since high school.  Some of it is still recognizable from its original incarnation, and some has changed greatly.  But that’s to be expected: as I’ve grown more experienced, my characters have grown richer and more complex.

I have also spent a lot of time researching the publishing industry and continue to read what I can in the genre.  I have loved the Kindle–it is so rewarding to have a book “magically” appear to be read.  And yet…published books are different than when I last sat through creative writing classes.  No, it’s not the format.  Clearly, that’s changed.

What I’m speaking of here is the lack of….well, this will sound odd in a piece about speculative fiction, but it’s the lack of reality.  What do I mean?  The lack of world building and the escapism factor.  When I visit Middle Earth, I see the Ring.  I feel Frodo’s pain.  Thank you, J.R.R. Tolkien.  With this in mind, every word I commit to the page in my novel, I try to see it as a reader might.  Is the food so real they thought they caught a whiff?  Do the people seem like someone they’d want to meet?  Someone they would fear and cross the narrow, crooked street to avoid?

Silly, I suppose.  And yet, this is what drives me as I keep working through.  I have 80 pages right now.  Are they good enough?  Do they sing?  Will a reader groan in sympathy when the protagonist suffers a disappointment?  Cheer when they win a victory, no matter how minor?

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I can, once formatted, release my opus to the world.  For a small fee, they can download it instantly to their Kindle.  But does that mean it should be launched, especially if not fully baked?  I think not.

So, is writing extinct?  Not quite.  But without people demanding more of their books, for every great author like Weeks and Butcher, there may be 100 or more “good enough” authors and readers deserve better.

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2 thoughts on “Writing—A lost art?

  1. I am always perplexed when I read a piece of fantasy that has no grips in reality and other readers rave about it, as if they somehow saw filled in the missing puzzle pieces in their head. I feel it is the responsibility of a fictional author to live by a code of invisible rules, which could quite appropriately be termed ‘believability’. As soon as a bad situation arrives, and the answer comes without foreshadow or prior warning, I scoff and can go no further. I have no idea how readers can enjoy that. The fact that you’re considering all this, and wish to put forward the most realistic fantasy you can, tells me your’s will be very good. Don’t worry about instant success, or feedback, keep doing it the way you are.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I am glad that you also noticed the trend as well. I feel one has to be true to the characters and story above all and do them justice.

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