I have a friend who’s a “booksale hound.” Whenever there’s a booksale within reasonable driving distance of her home—and she considers well over an hour “reasonable driving distance”—she’s there.
When I was a kid and got sick—chicken pox, measles, or what my doctor termed “Virus X”—I took the opportunity to read as much as I could. “Real” books, comic books—I devoured them all.
They were the bane of teachers’ existence, and many parents frowned on them too. I’m talking about comic books, “back in the day”—specifically, back in my childhood.
The genre known as “manga” didn’t exist then. There were two types of comic books only: funny and adventure. There was Archie, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Little Lulu, Henry, Casper, the Friendly Ghost, and such, and there was Superman, Batman, and others I can’t call to mind because I didn’t read them; I read only the funny ones.
You have no authorial ambitions, no desire to write books, articles, or anything remotely “literary.” You’re not interested in a career in PR, either. So you probably think you have no need to be a good writer. Right?
This is Banned Books Week, celebrated—if that is the right word—by libraries and bookstores, not to mention authors, all across America.
How does a book get banned—and by whom?
They say that “Everyone has a story in them.” I don’t know that I necessarily believe that EVERYONE does, but surely MANY people do. For some, it’s a novel that they have an idea for. For others, it’s their memoirs. Still others have a nonfiction idea—a how-to, an inspirational or motivational message, or the biography of a person they admire. The problem arises when the individual realizes that he or she may have a great idea for a book, but they lack the writing skills to turn that idea into a well-crafted, well-honed piece of writing.
I’m not putting the knock on novels. I’ve written a few myself. But why do so many people—authors and readers alike—treat nonfiction and its writers like the ugly stepsister?
For too many readers, nonfiction is what you buy when you need information on a particular topic. Novels are what you buy when you want to enjoy yourself. and relax.
The world of publishing has quietly been undergoing a revolution for some time now. Three forces have converged to level the playing field for authors, enlarge the selection of books for readers, and make the whole game more interesting all around.
As has been pointed out in song some time ago, “The times, they are a-changing.” Before the feminist movement, it was automatic for someone to write “he” when referring to a person of non-specific gender. That person might as easily be a woman (or girl), but as long as it wasn’t a definite reference to a female, “he” was the way to go.
I was talking to a fellow writer recently. We were debating the merits of a novel he proposed to write—a prequel to one he’d already written. He thought to base the female protagonist on one or the other, or a combination of both, of two women he had known well in the past. He knew their backstories well and had the idea to fictionalize their (similar) stories.