Friday, November 15, 2013

What defines "real writing"?

I was speaking with a woman about my blog and realized how neglected it is.

It's not that I don't have blog thoughts or things to write about. It's been the heavy focus on writing editing and submitting that seems to take all of my spare time.

There's been a huge discussion online lately about what makes a real writer. Some think it is the ability to write deep prose and win awards even if it makes no money. That genre writing is fluff and not real writing. The other side of this argument is that genre fiction, and earning money to pay your bills is the definition of real writing.

As a fiction writer I definitely side with the second half of the above statement. To me, success is earning money to support either your life and family or earning money to support your art. While awards are nice. (Trust me, they can go a long way in the writing world. They give you credibility and make people trust you as a writer.) They aren't everything. No award is going to give me money to buy gas for the car so I can go to my next author event or book signing. Awards don't buy book marks or business cards. Book sales do that.

The article assumes, that LDS writers are not real writers because we don't have authors that have won awards and therefore we aren't real writers in general. Um Orson Scott Card winning a Hugo and a Nebula for Enders Game isn't real writing? What about David Farland, Eric James Stone, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells? What about the whole plethora of LDS authors who write for the National market and are doing amazingly well? James Dashner and the Maze Runner movie comes to mind. If genre writing is not real writing and is not a measure of success then why is the list of LDS authors that are publishing nationally and paying their bills so large I can't list them all? AND in my short list I have totally left off the women in the writing world that are successful. I apologize.

The article also assumes that LDS writers in general are too sunshiny to write serious issues because of our culture, beliefs and upbringing. I sorely disagree with this but that is a subject for an entirely separate subject, and topic for another day.

While I am never going to change the minds of those who think I am not a real writer, I can at least start a discussion that is both interesting and thought provoking.

So are you a real writer?

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