The Problem with Modern Writing

Good writing is really meaningful, and it’s one of the – it’s still one of the best tools we have to get and capture people’s attention.
-Robin Sloan

The modern world of writing and literature is becoming obsessed with the “proper” style of writing or plotting stories.  If you’re like me and you’ve experienced even a small taste of editing, or if you’ve just done your research, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, people write books about how to write books.  They blog about how to write “correctly”.  We have all these new phrases and rules for creating proper sentences, fashioning a plot, choregraphing a scene, crafting our dialogue…the list goes on and on.  Sooner or later, you’ll run into an editor, a friend, a fellow writer, who will quote another modern writer and say the equivalent of “that’s not how it’s done nowadays.”

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It’s almost like we now have textbooks for writing.  Maybe it’s just me…but doesn’t that bother you?

Everybody needs help sometimes.  I’m not against books, blogs, or advice that helps me to become a better author.  My qualm with books about writing is not that they aren’t useful, but because they turn writing into a science.  Writing has become something that is less of an art, and more an act of conformation to the appetites of the current literary culture.

And to me, it’s disgusting.

Writing is an ART.  Art, people.  Art is not about conforming to what society wants.  It’s not about following the same path as everybody else.  It’s not about being the same.

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That’s why I’m beginning to get highly annoyed with this culture of writing where there are so many rules.  Agents and publishers won’t even get through the first page of your book because they are so obsessed with the “rules”, the “dos and don’ts”.  It’s like we’ve created a checklist for writing to determine whether it’s good or bad.

“Did the author show and not tell?  Check!”

“Was all of that dialogue completely relevant?  Check!”

“Was that character arc done according to the proper arc of a hero? Check!”

“Did they utterly simplify everything to it’s utmost simplest form?  Check!”

The list goes on and on.

And you know what the problem is?  We’ve begun looking at ALL writing from this perspective.  And that’s not what writing, or art, is about.

Writing should make us ask ourselves the big questions.  It’s not about creating a perfect, movie-like scene.  It’s not about relevancy or irrelevancy.  If the author is trying to say something…well, that’s what writing is for.  Writing isn’t just about the reader.  It’s not even just about the story.  It’s about what’s being SAID.

And that’s what we’re forgetting as a society.

Don’t conform.  I’m not saying don’t improve.  But don’t conform.  Don’t let anyone keep you from SAYING something with your writing.  That’s what it’s all about.

 

Genres The World Doesn’t Need Right Now

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Romance…and Stuff

The world doesn’t need another steamy romance novel.  I’m sorry, we really don’t.  The average citizen can hardly escape from our pornified culture of objectification, use, and abuse.  We don’t need false representations of love coming from our literature too.  We don’t need our conception of romantic love to be warped even further.  Pushing the culture’s agenda for “love” will help no one, not even yourself.

The world doesn’t need another paranormal-fantasy romance novel.  It’s a worn out idea–curious, innocent young women falling for hot vampire men.  Or vice versa.  I’m not impressed.  Create something new.

The problem with self-publishing (which I am a part of!) is that so many people just add to all the crap that’s already there.  If you’re going to produce crap, at least make your own pile.

Just…why…?

LGBTQ/Diverse genres.  I’m seeing such a push for these genres in publishing companies, and the reason why is because they are underrepresented.  Well, not to come across as a hater, but maybe they are underrepresented for a reason.  They don’t appeal to everyone; in a way, they shouldn’t.  That’s fine.  The marginalized people deserve a voice, but that doesn’t mean that they should rise above everyone else just because they are marginalized or considered the minority.

Mystery.  EVERYONE WRITES MYSTERY.  How many who-dun-its can we produce?  If you’re going to write in this genre, you better make sure you stand out!  There’s a lot of competition.


What genres are you growing bored of?  Are any of them timeless?  What are your favorite genres?