I decided that I’d put aside the books I’m working on during the weeks prior to going into surgery and post carpentry recovery. People request that I read work they’d done; most times they’re manuscripts … two of these were printed novels. All told, I read eleven books … ten fiction, one historical work. When I finished it was my opinion that three of the works were well written, marketable, and with a piece of the author contained in their pages. They had a fighting chance. That left eight that varied from “needs work” to “really?” After contemplating these less-than-magnificent-eight, I assumed the fault was in me … I must just not have “gotten it.” I went on a quest. How did I miss their message. I asked. What I found is sobering. They really didn’t have one.
Each of these conversations – that started with objective, plot, story, characterization – ended with this question, “Why are you writing?” The answers weren’t always forthcoming; it took quite an effort to get to the unvarnished truth. While I’d never share any details about individuals or their work, the writer’s answers to the question are enlightening. They explain why there are so many books being written, produced, and why the bulk of it is a waste of paper and computer storage.
After a great deal of unwrapping packaged answers, I was able to state eight reasons given by the eleven folks who asked for an opinion. My next series of posts will deal with these. If you read them, ask yourself, “is this me?” Try answering honestly. The first one I’ll be discussing is this answer, “I can’t find any other work.”
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