1. Swansong
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    Swansong New Member

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    Is it harder to be a successful novelist nowadays?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Swansong, Jan 16, 2010.

    Yes, I believe so.

    Decades ago, before the advent of the computer or the internet, writing novels was much more difficult. A novel which can be written in a year or two during the 21st century would have taken years as a full-time writer during the 1950's for example. Along with a higher supply of novels, there is a lower demand for novels also. People now primarily look for entertainment in movies, music, video games, television, and internet.

    Also, the classics dominate the industry. All the good ideas were taken. Many fiction books now are just clones of 1984 or Catcher In The Rye.
     
  2. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    I would completely disagree. Ideas are not already taken. Did you know that back in the eighteen hundreds, they wanted to stop patenting inventions because they thought anything and everything that could be invented had already been invented?

    Yes, not everyone reads novels today, but there are plenty who still do. Writing a novel is not much easier now then it was then. I could write and revise without a computer. It may take a little longer, but all you need is a good dictionary.

    We have a larger population, so I bet more people are reading now than ever.
     
  3. Swansong
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    Swansong New Member

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    Population increase does mean more readers, but it means more writers also. Writing is MUCH easier now though. Because editing can be done with a simple push of a button rather than having to retype a whole page on a typewriter.
     
  4. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    It was harder to edit. Many writers used to use a notepad for the first draft and then type it out. That would work just fine for me, though of course the computer is a great tool.

    That doesn’t mean that John Doe can buy a computer and suddenly become a great storyteller.
     
  5. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny you say that, because that's my own main argument against those who claim that all's been done before. If it seems like there's no new ideas to be had, people should blame nothing but their own lack of imagination.
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, it's not "harder", it's different.

    Read the Wall Street Journal article referenced in this site:

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=28250
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's never been easy... but it's actually much easier in these days of computers and the internet, than it was before they existed...
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree. Anyone who has ever typed on a manual typewriter might well agree! :eek:

    Research, at least initial research, is far easier and more convenient with the internet. Libraries and interlibrary loan procedures...much more difficult and time consuming.

    Of course, the number of folks who would go through the process because of the effort required, is probably far less.

    Terry
     
  9. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    We have a larger population, a literate population, and a consumerist population than the people of any other era of history.

    It can't be that hard to sell a book ;)
     
  10. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    While it may be easier to 'write' a novel because of computers and such, I think the basic concept of telling a good story is the same and poses the same challenges as in any time. I disagree that people look for entertainment elsewhere. I am a 20 something female, and 90% of my friends, from all walks of life and locations around the globe, love books. They long for time to read and would pass over a movie or a video game anyday. Though I will say, paper books arent as important. Kindell's (i think they are called) are quiet popular. I prefer the smell and feel of a real book myself.
     
  11. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Not at all, write fairly badly, about teen vampires or religious conspiracies and it will become a worldwide best seller…
     
  12. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    The social setting around the time of the 'classics' was also important. In those days, if you wrote you had to make a living out of it. You couldnt write in your spare time because you just didnt have the time or the resources and often not the education to be able to do it. Because you had to make a living, you had to be good, which is why it seems there are so many classics. If you werent good at writing, you just didnt write.

    It wasnt until the 1950s that books became commercial. Up until then, books were something that most people didnt have. It wasnt until late in the 1800s that books even existed in the traditional sense. You were sold a stack of printed paper and if you wished, you got it bound yourself. This took money most people didnt have.

    I do agree that not just any John Doe can write a good book, but any John Doe can try. We've got more spare time on our hands, more disposable income and more resources to give it a go. A great deal of people never get published, but the difference is you dont have to make a living out of writing now. We can do it for fun and still have food in our mouths.

    Demand and supply. Most people can afford to buy books now, so there's many more people writing them. However, that also brings competition with it. Yes, you're good, but what puts you above the millions of other people who are good and have the spare time to write a novel?
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but that's utter nonsense!... i was born in '38 and we always had books in the house... from the mid-40s on, i was reading commercial fiction non-stop... and it didn't just get printed then, either!... 'ordinary' people had books in their homes way before the 1950s...

    where are you getting this totally incorrect info?... bound books were sold centuries before then:

     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    And to back this up you need look no further than Twilight and Harry Potter.
     
  15. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    It’s a common misconception that people do not read anymore and that people used clay tablets up until the mid twentieth century.
     
  16. ScribblePaws
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    ScribblePaws New Member

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    I have to agree here, computers make it easier to edit and seek advice/information on writing. I haven't really taken well to e-books either. I can't possibly imagine a world without printed books.
     
  17. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    The ideas aren't already taken. I can't find anything on what I'd like to read. Trust me, there's still ideas out there. It may have been done before, but they haven't had your unique twist before, either.
     

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