As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day.
I’m not going to answer age-old questions here. But I can sure post them and then ponder on for 500 words to make my count, right? I mean, does it matter what I’m writing so long as I’m writing? Does the writing have to be good? And what is good writing anyway? Oh yes, that was the question I was wanting to consider.
Yesterday I said what I think is the most important thing a writer can do to make their writing good. They must believe in what they write. Believe the events could actually happen, given the right circumstances. And most important, believe in their theme. Believe in the truth that their story proves. Then I went on to state that not all fiction has provable themes.
There is plenty of genre fiction today that is little more than adventure stories strung together to keep readers buying the next book in the series. Shelves are dripping with vampires, dystopia, zombies, and whatever else is popular in the media. I can’t judge them all because I can’t and won’t read them all, but I am assuming that a lot of those books are little more than stories cranked with little thought to what I consider writing to be, which is art.
And that’s okay. These authors are still working hard to produce printed works. They do what they do and make a living at it. Most of the best books are at the head of the market, setting the trend, being made into films and publishers are doing what they can to make money. Writing may be an art, but publishing is a business.
But here’s the thing. There are trends in writing today. They’ll change and those books will fade to the back. Used bookstores will begin to have boxes of those old books, but not for long as the quality of paper and binding wasn’t so good to begin with. New trends will form with books in the lead and authors chasing the market after. Some books will be well produced by writers who are trying to communicate a theme they believe is true. Other authors will be out to cash in on the latest thing.
And while this is all happening, there will be books in the public domain, some being printed and plenty available for free downloads. These are books like Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, books by Dickens, Austin, and other writers long gone while their books remain. These are books and authors who believed in what they wrote. These are universal themes that are timeless, lasting for centuries.
This is not to say that many of today’s books will disappear forever. The media is like nothing we’ve ever seen in the past. Hundreds of years from now, amidst the timeless classics we know today, there might be a resurgence of early 21st century genre fiction. Old names will be remembered while new authors get on board to chase the market once more.
So is writing truly and art, or just a source of income? Like I said, I’m not up to answering a universal question like that. I can say for myself, that I write because I want to create something good. I want it to feel like art. If I earned money at it, that would be great, but I have a job already and don’t want to think of writing as my ticket out.
Which is where I was on day two of this 500 word challenge. One more day, then a break before I start NaNoWriMo. It’s been fun, which is what writing should be.