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The Mad Author
Jean Tennant

WHY DO WE WRITE?

Posted Friday, March 11, 2011, at 10:53 AM
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  • For me that book was Old Yeller. No story since has affected me quite like that one did.

    My question: Kids don't seem to be reading any more. Sure, Harry Potter, but not the classics, like Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc. Will books disappear from the next generation?

    -- Posted by ggilmore on Mon, Mar 14, 2011, at 8:52 AM
  • How do I know what I should write? Seems like one day I want to write children's books, the next I'm looking at nonfiction, maybe a memoir. I also see that thrillers are popular, and wonder if that's what I should be trying to do.

    -- Posted by DHarris on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 9:45 PM
  • Certainly children don't seem to be reading as much as they used to. Why should they? There's so much entertainment at their fingertips, and reading seems like work.

    We've become a nation accustomed to instant gratification. It's easier to go to the movies and watch a screen for 2 hours than it is to pick up a book that will take several hours or more to read. (And don't get me wrong here - I love a good movie as much as the next person.)

    Same with the computer, and computer games. It seems like every child you see, down to 4-year-olds, have a computer game in their hands. True, they're learning important skills, because computers will be an even bigger part of their daily lives than they are to us now, but they're missing out on the joy of picking up a book and getting lost in a wonderful story.

    Parents who read to their children, take them to the library and encourage a love of books at an early age are the key to ensuring that books remain alive in future generations.

    I don't think books will ever disappear. But I do see authors struggling to remain relevant, and, sadly, I suspect it's a trend that will continue.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 9:54 PM
  • As far as knowing what you should write - that's a decision each author must make for him/herself.

    But I advise against looking to the best seller lists to help you decide what you should write. You should be aware of those lists, to keep in touch with what interests people, but if you try to write in a certain genre just because it's popular, you'll be faking it, and that always shows on the page.

    What I always advise is that you write the type of story you love to read. If you love thrillers, then great - go for it. But if you don't love reading thrillers, you won't enjoy writing one either.

    Do you like romances? Mysteries? Then start reading them with a writer's eye. Pay attention to how they're constructed, the length of the chapters, whether they start with a prologue or jump right into the action in chapter one. Are they written in the first person POV (more about this later) or third person?

    Take a look at the books on your shelves. They're an excellent guide as to what you should be writing.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 10:06 PM
  • As a reader I have discovered authors who are able make a daily task or happening come to life. They are able to reach into the air and bring the sounds and smells into a 'reliving' experience which brings emotions that had been put away for another day.

    I'm currently reading, Under The Tuscan Sun, by Francis Mays. When she writes about fresh baked bread I can smell the yeast aroma filling my house.

    I'd like to be able to write with that awarness.

    Jean, as a result of your BLOG I've sorted my books by topic and made a discovery about my interests. Using this awarness as a starting point..like a stone thrown in a pool, I will work out from the stone and into the ripples of uncertainty.

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 11:03 PM
  • Wordgardener - lovely descriptions!

    -- Posted by JTennant on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 8:13 AM
  • Writing for me, is a way to express myself. It's something I need to do. When I started school, I read the Dick and Jane books through ahead of the class. My father took us to the library and I became acquainted with the Heavens To Betsy Books, and Little Women Black Beauty, etc.

    When I was 10, I wrote my first story and sent it into a children's magazine. I knew nothing about writing then, but I had the desire to write. My parents were surpised when my story came back. They never dreamed their daughter would try to get a story published. I kept on trying, and since then, I've had the pleasure of seeing my work published.

    -- Posted by rjochims on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 6:28 PM
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