I'm an avid student of the human condition, and have a master's degree in life.
My grammar is not perfect (hazily remember grammatical rules taught to me by Primary School teachers way back in the '60's), however I have read a lot, own an impressive library (most of my books reside in boxes because I've run out of shelf space), and I believe I possess a good idea of what constitutes a good book.
I write to please myself, and if others enjoy reading it as well - then that's a bonus. I am still learning my craft and my writing reflects that - I guess I will be still learning it up to the day I die.
Yes, I do use a pseudonym. I like to keep a separation between my writer self, and my real-life self.
I started writing poems in Middle school as a reaction to things going on around me and the country at the time. I wish I could find the poem I wrote when they first landed on the moon. My english teacher liked it a lot. In High school I wrote a skit that wowed that english teacher. A novel percolated in me for a long time. I didn't write a thing while in College. Too busy with school work. I graduated and out of boredom decided to take some classes. I waffled between a creative writing class or a computer programming class. I chose the creative writing class. It was taught by someone who had a more literary bent toward writing. She was very encouraging. That classroom opened a floodgate of pent up creativity that is the foundation of my writing today. I wrote plays, poetry, and fiction. I could hardly blink an eye without some character showing up in my head. Writing is about jotting down what we see and observe about the world around us. I've taken classes and workshops since that initial class. One never stop learning.
Are we doing Churchill?
'You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk.'
'Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill will be sober.”
Yeah but of a hangover, like - Chelsea winning and I don't even like Chelsea but hate Barca with a passion that doesn't die.
I'm a HS graduate, and earned good grades in English (except in 7th grade, but that grade was awkward all year long), culminating with something like a 98 over 100 for my senior essay which counted for 50% of my grade for the year. My essay was on Beowulf; that and the grade I received are the only things I remember about it.
High school was a long time ago.
I've also been an avid reader since I taught myself to read by the time I was four years old. I read classics when I was young: Dickens, Austen, etc. I also read King, Heinlein, Holt, and many other authors. Some my mother wasn't too happy about: "Why do you always pick out such weird books?"
Of course, I'm also Texan bred and born, where 'ain't' was considered to be in the dictionary long before Merriam-Webster officially added it.
Personally, I prefer scifi/fantasy/mystery/thrillers and others over 'literary fiction'. Literary fiction now bores me, much like rap music causes the urge to shoot my radio whenever it comes on.
However, both of my editors have college educations and are well-versed in the English language. That would be why I chose them as editors.
I'm an avid student of English and have been working on the same novel for about three years now. I'm going through a final edit and then posting it in the coming weeks; however, I was struck by a question going through these boards: what are the literary backgrounds people are coming from?
I mean no disrespect, but I see a figurative ton of romance/erotica/fantasy garbage that is poorly written, edited, and generally just plain painful. I'm just curious, are a lot of you English major backgrounds that have treaded through the Ulysses', Moby Dicks', and Middlemarches', or is this more of a niche community that is really only interested in the tried-and-true fantasy genre with wizards, witches, goulies, etc?
Like I said, I mean absolutely no disrespect, but I just see the same authors pumping out metric tons of stuff when the stuff they already have up could use a hefty dose of good-ol-fashion going over.
I've not come across anyone here that takes literature very seriously. They mostly seem to be the type who enjoy what you would call light reading. If you want to discuss Plato's theory of forms; the symbolism behind James Branch Cabell's Sigil of Scoteia; or the motif of the "Holy Other" in Homer's Helen of Troy, Dante's Beatrice, and Mark Twain's "platonic sweetheart" then you'll find much more camaraderie at the typical literary societies. On the other hand, you won't find many people at those places who would get caught dead self-publishing--yet. But they all probably will be one day. Here you can talk
about your problems with uploading files and formatting books etc., and those are things most literary people could care less about. Different forums for different things. Good luck with your book.
I hope you let us know when you publish so I can buy
your book and finally see how a novel is supposed to
be written. Hemingway and Faulkner both were writing
without any college degree. Faulkner never finished
high school. He did lie his way into college by
claiming to be a wounded combat vet (he never
finished flight school), but stayed drunk and quit
after a while.
I've been looking for a real writer here for 18
months. Now maybe I found one.
I don't know how a novel is suppose to be written. Was Joyce right, or was Eliot? Faulkner is sweet, but I have him a peg down on my big board. To be honest, George Eliot is the best English Novelist of all time in my eyes (Those wild russians are a whole other story...). Her uses of semicolons and dashes to make a run on sentence not a run on are beyond impressive. Plus, publishing Daniel Deronda in england in her time would be akin to publishing a pro-terrorism book in America now....19th c. European Anti semitism for the win..?
I really, honestly, dont think those classics are worth all that more than anything else, people need to just read what they enjoy (to be honest, I'm flushed with relief just to see people reading...). The only requirement to write is the ability to remember every scar; but reading a lot and writing a little always helps IMO
Edit: plus, who on earth drops dante in the Italian in their English novel and just expects her readers to be multi-lingual enough to handle it? God, George Eliot is sexy...
Just reading over this thread and finding the Lit. Fic. arguments interesting.
I'm really hoping there's some sort of middle ground. Yes, as some have mentioned, 'Lit. Fic.' can often be ponderous and boring books solely about 'emotions' and giant passages of description that seem to be there for no other reason than the writer thought them up and so of course had to use them, with way too much attention paid to form.
But, contrastingly, so much 'genre fiction' is ponderous and boring in its own way, filled with cliches, tropes and plot devices we've all read a million times and with absolutely no attention paid to strong or unique form whatsoever.
So how do you classify a book that strives to be written about contemporary issues, with a proper amount of attention to detail and form, but doesn't include a murder, spies, or zombies? About all you could call it would be Literary Fiction, no?
The reason I'm asking is because of course that's what I think my book is, and I'm looking for other opinions on the matter
Literary fiction is a lot more work for a lot less pay. Unless you are extremely talented, in fact one in a million, you will never make a living self-publishing literary fiction.
I have an idea for a novel that includes no war, no violence that takes place on scene before the readers' eyes (other than a little domestic violence), so to speak, just people surviving the current depression after their unemployment checks run out. What I have in mind is similar to novels I read as a kid about people surviving the Great Depression, with ignorance, racism, and poverty from laziness holding them down more than the economy.
I have no doubt sales will be low. I work on my genre novels first, they pay the bills. Someday, when I am happy with what I have made on my genre stuff, I will go back and finish the "literary" novel.
"I have an idea for a novel that includes no war, no violence that takes place on scene before the readers' eyes (other than a little domestic violence), so to speak, just people surviving the current depression after their unemployment checks run out. What I have in mind is similar to novels I read as a kid about people surviving the Great Depression, with ignorance, racism, and poverty from laziness holding them down more than the economy."
I'm thinking you mean the types of books we read back in school (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc). which are held up by everyone as 'classics,' but which now you can't write because nobody would buy them (unless you're that one in a million, as you say).
Although, if you think about it, there are many movies along these themes that seem to do quite well, both in awards and box office. Maybe if we want to tell these kinds of stories we should really be looking at screenwriting.
What makes you think that indie publishers don't edit? The vast majority have edited till we are blue in the face and then edited again, got others to edit and then used a program to edit, then when that had been exhausted we've edited yet again. Yes, there are some who don't edit or have hired people who claim to be editors, yet can't edit diddly squat.
As for our literary backgrounds, they are many and vastly varied. The main thing we all have in common is the need to tell a good story. To claim the likes of the "classics" are the only worthwhile literature to read is beyond inane. What we call classics were once modern literature which would have been frowned upon in their day. Personally, I prefer William Blake. Do I write like him? No. Do I even mention the literature that I am interested in or read on here? No, because the topic never comes up. Here we mainly focus on how to help one another, give concrit and encourage fellow writers.
As others have said, if you want a board for discussing Homer or Wordsworth or anyone else then go find that board or open a thread discussing them. Don't make assumptions that all indie writers aren't worth a darn because they write what readers of today want to read. Like all arts it is the reader/interpreter of that art that makes it a masterpiece or garbage.
Sorry but I find it incredibly snobbish to assume that only the likes of Homer are worth a darn.