Since some who read this blog are aspiring writers in the prose field, I thought I’d pass along this excellent blog article written by successful independent author Hugh Howey.
He really hits a lot of important points on being a writer in the new e-book focussed market. I also think he is spot-on about how the best thing a writer can do is write, get the product out, and keep writing, the marketing can come later.
For me the most interesting was the following:
“Know your gatekeepers. Appealing to readers is the endgame. They want story over prose, so concentrate on that aim for both, but concentrate on story. Agents and slush-pile readers are often the opposite, which is why they bemoan the absence of literary fiction hits and cringe at the sale of Twilight, Dan Brown, and 50 Shades. You are writing for the reader, who is your ultimate gatekeeper. Get your work in front of them, even if it’s one at a time, one reader a month or year.”
He really has an excellent point with this one. The truth is, if your core story is strong, then the average reader will forgive a lot in the area of style. Simple, clear prose without spelling or grammar mistakes is all most readers require to enjoy a story, and that isn’t all that difficult to achieve. It’s the characters and story that will bring them in and keep them reading, not the prose, as the authors he’s mentioned have proved.
Of course, the opposite is also true- you can polish a turd of a story all you want, and it will still be a turd!