Wednesday, July 6

When is a book crap?

Joe Konrath blogged yesterday that

Some people believe the ease of self-publishing means that millions of wannabe writers will flood the market with their crummy ebooks, and the good authors will get lost in the morass, and then family values will go unprotected and the economy will collapse and the world will crash into the sun and puppies and kittens by the truckload will die horrible, screaming deaths.

Or something like that.

This is bullshit, of course. A myth. A fabrication. One rooted in envy and fear.

He titled his blog, "The Tsunami of Crap". It is a good and very funny read.

Antoher good read on the same subject is Michael A. Stackpole's blog, "When is Crap, crap?" He writes:
So, how does a writer know when what they are writing is crap—not relatively, but purely and deeply?

I think every writer knows, in his gut, when he’s put his heart and soul into a story. If he hasn’t been working hard; if he hasn’t been making the tough choices; if he doesn’t love the characters enough to let them grow; if he’s thinking more about the paycheck than the story—then chances are that what he’s turning out is crap. The story won’t have heart. It won’t have characters that readers will want to follow, or shed a tear over. If a writer thinks of a story as just a little “fluff” piece, or has to resort to the invocation of literary criticism to identify and justify the story’s worth, it’s crap.

As Joe says, Don’t. Do. That.


If, after ... working as hard as you can on a story, you’ve made the story the best you can possibly make it, it isn’t crap. It might not be the most polished story in the world—developing your skills and voice may take some time—but it’s a better story than you started out with. And if you keep working hard, the next story will be better, and the one after that better still. By offering potential patrons free samples of your work, you let them decide if they want to read you; and they’ll be able to come back and chart your progress to the point where their desire to read and your skill at delivering a story coincide.

If you do that, your work will never sink. It will be good. Folks will notice. They’ll share their discoveries with others. Again, this is not a sprint, this is all about longevity. Keep working, keep writing stories that you’d love to be reading, and you’ll do just fine.

I like that. If a writer works on a story and does the best they can, if the writer has poured her heart and soul into it, then it isn't crap. Nice definition.

Joe's article
Michael's article

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