I wrote a review on the opening chapters of a novel for the Youwriteon site this morning. Reviewing is so different to reading for pleasure. I had to re-read the first few paragraphs several times, to make sense of them, but then, thankfully, the writing began to take off. I feel very ‘teacherish’ when writing reviews and tend to see a lot of room for improvement, even in very good pieces. I’m hoping that being such a harsh critic, means good news for my own writing.
The standard on the Youwriteon site is very high, and gives insight into the competition writers are up against when submitting to agents and publishers. It also makes it all the more surprising, how some less-than-good novels are published. I was reading one such novel yesterday and wanted only to get out my red pen and edit out the four or five cliches per page and the unnecessary long-winded dialogue. It surely is a mystery why an editor decided to publish it, and it makes it all the more clear to me that the only solution to getting published is to KEEP WRITING until something you write ‘happens’ to please an editor, on a particular Tuesday, when he/she has had a good breakfast and slept well the night before.
There is also, I believe, a problem for writers who don’t write ‘commercial’ fiction and yet don’t fall into the literary genre either. Editors worry, perhaps, that not enough people will want to read these books, and maybe they’re right – these novels are unlikely to win any literary awards, and so get noticed, and equally they don’t appeal to tired holiday makers who want only to flake out on a beach and leave their brains at home. But, in their, defense, these mid genre novels are my favourite. I love an easy read, with teeth – something that makes me think, without endless description. Unfortunately, those type of books are not always so easy to find….that’s why I write them myself!