Yes, the Writing Matters

I read a blog post from an influencer in the indie industry today. He said the writing doesn’t matter. Well…not so much anyway. Really what’s important is to give the readers what they know. It’s content over form. (That pesky craft stuff is not really necessary, although watch the typos because that really irritates people.)

He then went on to explain that as long as you put in the expected tropes and clichés (with your own special twists of course) then that’s when people will want to read what you write.

(Which perhaps explains why there is so much bad fiction out there, I suppose.)

But here’s the question:

If the writing doesn’t matter then why call ourselves writers? Why don’t we call ourselves trope-ists or cliché’ists or trend-ists?

If we don’t need to care about word choice, or flow or character development or any of that bothersome ‘craft’ stuff. If the form doesn’t really matter.

If a book dashed off in a month is as good as a book written with care, then edited and revised and polished, then why are we putting in all that effort? Why are we torturing ourselves? Clearly it’s more important that we start selling our stuff. Clearly what’s important is us. And selling our crap.

Because if the writing doesn’t really matter then the reader doesn’t really matter either, right? Unless they buy our crap.

If anybody can be an author and anybody is good enough to be an author (as long as they stay on the trope train) then being a writer doesn’t mean much does it? If writing a book is no big deal, because everybody is doing it and can do it, then why should anyone care?

And if words and the craft of words (a.k.a. communication) don’t matter to writers then who will they matter to? If language and communication isn’t important to us as creators, where are we headed? Where is society headed?

It matters…yes, it does…

YES, the writing does matter.

Because the reader matters.

Because your writing isn’t all about you. It shouldn’t be anyway.

It’s all about the reader. It should be anyway.

Shouldn’t it?

I think so.

What do you think?

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Quick Book Tag

 

I saw this over at Loraine Ambers’ lovely blog and it looked like fun…

Quick Book Tag

E-Book or Physical Book?

I like both. It depends on what I’m reading and my mood. I have been reading a lot more on my Kindle lately but I may dig into that stack on my night stand soon.

Paperback or Hardback?

Hardbacks – I love the larger size and print and they smell more like books, if that makes sense?

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

In-Store. I’m not much of a Barnes and Noble shopper but I love indie bookshops and used bookstores. My local library has one and I can spend hours in there, browsing. And it’s tiny!

Trilogies or Series?

Either one works if the story is enticing. Although, if I fall in love with the characters I will be sad if more books don’t follow.

Heroes or Villains?

Both – any fully formed character is a pleasure to love or hate. Though in either case, I really prefer a flawed hero or villian to the perfect ones who can jump from tall buildings in a single leap, fight off battalions of bad guys with one hand tied behind their back, and make the perfect martini. Good guy or bad guy, give me someone I can relate to and you’ll have me forever as a reader.

A book you want everyone to read?

Anything by Diane Dickson – her writing is a feast for the eyes.

Recommend an underrated book?

Scarpetta’s Winter Table, by Patricia Cornwell. It’s somewhat obscure and very short (relative to her other novels). But it gives you interesting insights into the characters of the Scarpetta series. If you’re a Scarpetta fan, see if you can find a copy and read it.

The last book you bought?

Twist of Truth by Diane Dickson. I’m addicted to her books.

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

Like most readers I usually use whatever is within reach but the weirdest thing was probably a sock.

Used Books: Yes or No?

Of course, otherwise what would used bookstores sell? Nothing like a brand new, hot off the press new book but there is something about a used book that appeals to me – the passing on from one reader to the next – it’s almost as though you can feel the love/excitement/fear/interest that each reader experienced while reading the book and it makes it seem alive. (Is that too weird a revelation? Even for a writer?)

Top three favorite genres?

Mysteries, Thrillers, and Suspense. Yes, I know Amazon considers them one genre but they are not. I also enjoy retro sci-fi (Asimov, Heinlein) and psychological horror (think Twilight Zone not the Chain Saw Massacre), and occasionally a good literary novel but anything with mystery or suspense intrigues me.

Borrow or Buy?

Both. When the budget is tight, I turn to BookBub or the library.

Characters or Plot?

Hands down, characters. I don’t think a book can be good if the characters don’t draw you in and make you care about them.

Long or Short Books?

As long as it’s good, length is not a consideration. Although books topping out at 500 pages is probably my max. I’ve read recently that readers are moving toward shorter books these days. Personally, I’m always sad when a good book ends.

Long or Short Chapters?

Short chapters. It makes me feel more connected to the action in the story.

Name the first three books you can think of

Bone Baby, Lightning, Frankenstein

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Either. But more to the point, books that make me feel, I need an emotional connection to books I read or I’ll end up not finishing them.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional worlds always seem like more fun – lots of adventure and less risk.

Audio books: Yes or No?

Audio books are okay. I listened to a lot of them when I was commuting on a day job. Although, I don’t think you get the same satisfaction from them. Especially since you’re usually multi-tasking while listening. I think you also miss nuance in a story you listen to rather than read. The exception I suppose would be if you were listening one hundred percent and doing nothing else. Still, if the narrator doesn’t match the voice in your head it could ruin the experience for you.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

If the cover is really awful or really amazing, yes, probably. Generally though, covers don’t influence me as much as it seems they do others.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Perhaps the Handmaid’s Tale. But not really. Generally, I find the book to be better than the film version. They are doing a decent job of the Bosch series from Michael Connelly’s books but I had to get used to the actor they selected for the lead because he was nothing at all like I’d imagined Bosch.

Series or Stand-alones?

Either. Though I LOVE to find a new series to get my hooks into. You always get so excited when a new book in the series comes out, like you get to visit with an old friend. Wow, this question makes me miss Sue Grafton.

How about you? What would you answer to these questions? Feel free to tell us in the comments or consider yourself tagged and do your own version of the post.

 

Cheers,

Annie