Do you take writing seriously? I mean, what does it mean to you? A lot of people want to be writers—no—they want to be considered a writer. They want to tell people they write fantasy or sci fi, or historical war stories or whatever so they can look like they’re talented and deep. But in reality they don’t want to lift a finger or a pen to be a writer. They don’t want to go to school for it. They don’t want to finish a story—they only want to sketch ideas. They don’t read books to speak of. They don’t accept editing suggestions much less critiques. They don’t study fiction writing; instead they just wing it. They love to read about how ordinary people broke into the game and made millions. Everyone loves the Stephen King story. Of course, they ignore that he earned a B.Sc. in English and a teaching certificate for High School in the state of Main before he “broke into the game.” Not to mention finishing a novel when he was eighteen. He “broke into the game" with Carrie when he was 27. How many years of writing outside the game was that? They feel perfectly comfortable writing in text-speak: i can ba wrtr jst lik king did They actually consider fan fiction a noble calling. After all, why invent characters when there are perfectly good ones on TV? All I’m griping about is that I have seen two things emerge since the old school of writing ended back in the 1970’s: The first is that in order to increase the number of readers buying their books, publishers began the natural selection process of dumbing down literature. What has evolved, however, are Barnes and Nobles full of novels that aren’t worth the pulp paper they’re printed on. Seriously: read The Exorcist by William Blatty and compare it to any recent horror novel you can find on the shelves today. Compare the reading grade level of the works. The same is true for all the genres. The second event was the home computer, which lead to word processing, the internet, and e-publishing. Both of these events together have produced zillions of people who want in the game. They read a crappy novel and say, “Hey, if that writer can do it, why can’t I?” And technically they can. They have the tools. The problem is that the dumbing down has lead to books so stupid no thinking person will read them. Which means ultimately a zillion books are published to people too dumb to read books—or at least too simple to want to. So now, the publishing industry is collapsing and a zillion writers are writing to no one. No one takes writing seriously anymore, because there’s no reason to invest the effort. Everything is falling down; the art form is ending. Am I wrong? By all means, show me how I am, and give me some hope.