1. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Since when has the criteria of publication exluded good writing?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mr Sci Fi, Apr 22, 2008.

    I'm going to go out on a whim here:

    A lot of published work SUCKS.

    There, I said it.

    Among my favorite hobbies is checking out the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble once a month. I find a lot of gems of literary interest, from prominant mainstream mags to more independant genre fluff mags.

    Now, considering the cafe is a good place to pick up chicks, I like to read and pretend to be intellectual. (Ok, I actually read genre mags like "Space and Time" because I like them.)

    I've sent manuscripts to a few of these from time to time that were met with that form rejection most of us are accustomed to. "We receive a great many manuscripts a day!" "Competition's tough!" or "This is not quite what we're looking for," are a few of the lines so ubiquitious in these rejections.

    But, now I'm not saying I'm the exception here, most of these stories are god awful. I cringe at every horribly-structured sentence and overly-contrived plot. And I wonder, "Why isn't any of my stuff getting accepted?"

    Then I come home and visit this site and read some of the stories posted by authors who are not yet published and I wonder, "Why the hell aren't these guys published?"

    Seriously. I've seen better writing on this site than in any of these so called "publications."

    So, when did the concept of good writing slip by editor's requirements for publication? Do they even read submissions?

    Bottom line: You guys should be published. People like Paollini and Dan Brown shouldn't.

    /endrant
     
  2. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing I would like to say is that I love Dan Brown books, his novels are truely brilliant

    Secondly, a reason a fair few people are not published is because we have never submitted work to publishers, and a lot have no interest in being published. Me, my work is tripe and I am too young to submit anything. I bet if some people here actually sent their work in, they would have a good chance of getting published.

    Also, the publisher has to think about marketing. They want to make money, and so will publish things that people want to read. if people want to read the stuff you do not like at the moment, that is what the publishing company will look for. Simple buisness.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    The base of the publishing consumer market is made up of casual readers and casual readers arn't as picky about good adn abd writing as the rest of us. Most people who only ready maybe a book or two a year, will never notice the horrors present in Browna dn Paoloni's writing because they're not as picky about it. But both writers seem to have something about them that people want to read.

    Everyone loves Star Wars and Dragons why not put them together and se ehow far it goes? It sounds like a money maker to me and it is. So what if its horribly written?

    Dan Brown? Well he's a horrible writer and a horrible human being. The only reason he makes good pay is becaus ehe writes about anything taht will piss people off enough to stir up controversy. Of course, controversy sells very very well.

    Its sad but mainstream Publishers arn't interested in writting. They're interested in money. its a business afterall. Most readers won't notice the bad things, just like most movie goers don't notice the stupidity in some movies (Step Up for example XD). Its a sad but true, truth...
     
  4. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    I agree, I just think it's sad that great writing often goes unnoticed in favor of "What's hot?" Seriously, how many vampire stories do we need?
     
  5. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    Eh. :confused:
     
  6. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is there to be confused about, I love Dan Brown books, I have read all but the Da Vinci code, and I loved them. Keeping meanin to buy that aswell actually
     
  7. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    It was the brilliant comment that threw me off. I thought you were serious for a second.
     
  8. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am, I love his novels. What is it about them you dislike ??
     
  9. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    His writing, mostly. It's very moot. I wasn't bashing on you for liking him, I just disagree that his novels are brilliant. "The DaVinci Code" is the most contrived thing imaginable.
     
  10. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    I agree with you that Dan Brown is a joke.

    It flusters me sometimes too. I don't think I'm really that bad of a writer. I don't mean to sound pretentious, but I know I can write on about the same level as people like James Patterson, Dean Koontz, or any of those other jokers who churn out the same novel with a different cover twice a year.

    Contemporary fiction is really becoming a joke.

    Stephenie Meyer? Stephen King? Dan Brown? Are you serious? Are these really becoming bestsellers? What the hell is happening?

    Why are people like Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Michael Cunningham, Donald Barthelme, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Cunningham, Annie Proulx and a bunch of others taking backseat to the aforementioned writers?

    Why are people like Chuck Palahniuk being worshiped? Gah!
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since the advent of publishing!... it's no worse now than it ever was, though nowadays, editors get buried under a lot more gluck to go through than before everybody and his/her cousin had a computer and email access...

    sure they do... but not all... in many cases, the cover/query letter is so hopeless they won't bother to read the submission, figuring it can't be any better... which is why you have to learn how to write a killer query, if you ever hope to get published...
     
  12. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    There's a reason casual readers like writers like Paloni and Meyer, and Brown. Though they arn't as good "writing wise" as others like Cormac, they are much easier to understand and follow. The good writers are very big on sentence structures and the wording and flow which many casual readers honestly don't care about. As long as the story is legiable, they will read it. The greats are often overlooked because a casual reader has a ahrder time following what they are saying. Its rare to find a writer who can perfectly describe something with elegant structure and carful wording and at the same time is very easy to follow. Writers are usually one or the other and in a contest those who are easy to follow win out.
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I personally feel that Dan Brown is not a very good writer. I read the Da Vinci Code, and thought that it was simply his attempt to stir up controversy. Since then, I've read Angels and Demons, and that was much better. Deception Point was passable, if not plausible, and Digital Fortress was tripe.


    These are all my opinions of course, and Heather has every right to hers.
     
  14. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Gah, Dan Brown sucks... Stephen King ftw! ;)

    Anyways, I'd agree that a lot of crap gets pushed through by the editors, but still a great deal of good writing is put through as well. Let's not forget that "One man's trash is another's treasure."
     
  15. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    So pretty much a writer's only hope is to dumb down their writing and write "For the market," because nobody appreciates good literature anymore.

    :-(

    I blame MTV.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, I think good writing is still appreciated, even though a lot of dreck gets published also.
     
  17. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may not be completely out of hope. I heard that J.K Rowling was told that the writing in Harry Potter was too complex for children. (Can anyone confirm that?)
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I hadn't heard that, but I can believe it. However, Jo Rowling's first "test audience" was her own daughter.

    I myself do not believe in "writing down" to children, or to anyone for that matter. Aim high, and they will reach up to grasp it.
     
  19. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    Rowling is another example of all the ilk that gets published, perhaps one of the biggest. There is absolutely nothing spectacular about the writing. If you've read the first one then you have read them all. Its the same plot over and over again. Too complex for children? It looks like a sad future for the world if such a statement can be true. The stuff is barely complex enough to satisfy a monkey.

    I call for revolution.
     
  20. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you there. The stories are quite complex, and her writing is absolutely superb. In fact, my mother (who can often guess a movies ending before its over within the first half-hour) couldn't even guess who were the bad guys and who weren't throughout the series. Plus it has a marvelous ending. If you think J.K. Rowling is drivel, try reading any of the other "popular" modern authors and tell me if she still is poor writing.

    Oh, and I would heartily agree with you Cogito. When you "write down" for children because you think they might not understand it otherwise, the story really comes across as condescending.
     
  21. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    And I call for fun books. There is a reason people like Rowling or Stephen King get published. When it comes right down to the bottom of things, books are entertainment (at least the fiction. Come to think of it a lot of the non-fiction is downright funny also, although the authors probably wouldn't want to hear that.) You can make it as deep and insightful as you want, with all of the good techniques of structure and form, but if the story isn't fun then the book sucks. I don't read because I want to improve my critiquing ability. I read because I enjoy the stories.
     
  22. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Exactly how I feel on the subject. But good writing structure is still a must.
     
  23. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who is to say what is good or great writing and what is worthless?

    As writers, I think we often tend to write what we would like to see on the shelves and magazine racks. That is a start for the definition of 'good' for an individual to build from.

    But in a similar fashion, the questions could be asked: What is the best wine? What constitutes a quality wine? What is the tastiest fruit? Which artist's work should be hung in a museum, and which should be hung on a loose nail over the dumpster? Why is McDonalds better/worse than Burger King, or IHOP better/worse than Waffle House?

    There is a wide spread of opinion out there as to what is good writing and what people are interested in reading, let alone willing to pay for. Editors are tasked with finding just that, or at least enough of that to keep the magazine (publisher) in business. If they don't, the magazine/publisher folds (or the editor is out of a job before that happens).

    How many novels are published each year? Something for everyone. How many short stories? Quite a few (although fewer than in years past...at least good paying fiction markets). But has was stated earlier, how many folks are submitting? 1000+ submissions a month for some publishers of magazines/novels.

    The trick is to match up your tastes/writing with markets that share that thought or view. Is it tough to break in? Yep, even when things appear to match up.

    Only thing to do is to write, revise, edit, target a market and submit...and resubmit if necessary, all the time writing, reading, learning, improving and continuing to submit.

    Terry
     
  24. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    As a writer this is what I believe: A story should be read first for its story, and then for its art. After all, that is what a book truly is. Art. A book is no less an artwork than a sculpture or a painting. What if Michelangelo's David were made to look cartoony simply because that was the popular thing and the average person wouldn't take the time to appreciate it? What if the same were to be done of the Sistine Chapel? It is butchery of art simple and plain, fun or not.
     
  25. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    That is probably true, but I think we can all agree that little Johnny third grader doesn't deserve a place next to Rembrandt for coloring in the lines either.
     

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