There’s a lively conversation going on over at Making Light set off by this amusing piece, “Everyone does not have a novel inside them“, by Tim Clare in the Guardian. Clare rails against the myth that publishing is an evil cartel bent on keeping new voices out and longs for a way to discourage all the crap writers who dream of instant fame and fortune from even thinking about getting published.
In amongst (ha, Margo, I say, ha!) the conversation at Making Light some yet-to-be-published writers worry that they are the ones aimed at and make noises in the direction of quitting, or not bothering to try to get into print, which leads Patrick Nielsen Hayden to write this:
Indeed, the moral of this conversation, like all such conversations, is that no matter what you do to discourage bad writers, a significant number of the good ones will take what you say to heart and slink away in shame.
Amen to that. It will never cease to amaze me how many truly wonderful unpublished writers end up being discouraged by this kind of conversation, and don’t realise it’s not aimed at them. And then, as Cat reminded me, there are those writers who were once truly awful and then got a lot, lot, lot better (nope, I won’t be pointing out any examples).
Which is to say, yup, it’s a shame so much crap is published, but tonnes of fab stuff is too, and in this age of the interwebby thingie it’s become easier and easier to find the stuff what you will like. And like that.