Exciting writing

exciting writing

Exciting writing…it’s the Holy Grail for so many people. Publishers have to say “no” far more often than they say “yes.” Is that because they just can’t say “yes” to everybody, they have to be selective? Or is it slim pickings? Is it just me, or does a lot of writing recently just seem…tired? Or in a lot of cases like the writer is trying so hard to please you that it’s distracting. It’s hard to get lost in a story when you’re distracted. But seriously, don’t you hate when you can smell the desperation off the pages?

I’m being too judgmental. As a reader, I fall short. I am tired, and distracted, and desperate. I want to read exciting writing, but I’m unwilling to be excited. Think back to the days of reading a book under the duvet with a flashlight because the story was more important than sleep. Lemony Snicket is partially to blame for my bad eyesight, I’m sure. And think about the books you read inside your open textbook in class because finishing the chapter was more important than your studies. That was exciting writing. When they added “unputdownable” to the OED, it was to describe writing so thrilling that there was no other way to describe it.

What counts as exciting writing is certainly a matter of individual taste. I happen to think that those books that go viral – the ones that start that frenzy – are pretty exciting. You know the frenzy I’m talking about, because it starts with the quiet rumblings about a book and then gets louder and louder until you can’t go anywhere in the world without feeling like an ignoramus for not having read it. It’s exciting to read during the silence. When the rumblings haven’t started yet, but you have a feeling they soon will.

Lately it seems like the young adult generation are having all the excitement. But they deserve it. They are not tired, and distracted, and desperate. They read with ferocious appetite and the kind of excitement that most authors dream of inspiring. The young adult novel is taking over. Their generation has exploded and now all it takes is a few of them to start the fanaticism and it’s like they put a microphone to the rumblings. No wonder the young adult generation is becoming a black hole, sucking up all the excitement. That’s the Holy Grail publishers should look for.

Cherie Desai

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2 Responses to “Exciting writing”

  1. anthony dooley says:

    i disagree. the novel in the youth market is tired and to be honest worrying. it has’nt actually changed. elves,giants etc faux tolkien epics following that formulae. zombies,werewolves and vampires oh my..nothing but hyperreal porn for the advert regeneration. the writers..the decent writers of fantasy/horror for young adults are so far underground the pale n’ pretty vampire elite could’nt find them with a beautifully designed fingernail(and those pete murphy cheekbones ain’t never bit no neck). lemony snickert while a decent writer did’nt exactly explore new territory nor for that matter did jk rowling..just rehashes of old themes for the don’t read generation.
    jay russell,michael marshall smith et al began writing detective fiction because no-one was buying their badly promoted work in the horror/dark fantasy genre.
    children are only given safe literature to read and that is no match for the computer games they play. maybe if more writers wrote grapic/computer game novels they would fare better.

  2. Jay Russell says:

    Whoa-hey! It’s nice to be remembered by someone.

    I don’t know where the exciting writing is living these days. Some of the old reliables are still out there. MM Smith may be writing more thrillers than SF, but he is always worth reading. The likes of Kim Newman and Paul McAuley can be trusted for good work. You can’t go wrong with any Joe R Lansdale. The Honest guys are clearly trying to put some new and exciting material out there. But will readers buy it? Will readers pay for anything? It often doesn’t seem like it and that is a worry. Then again, people have been sweating the death of publishing/literature/culture for…ever.

    But thanks for the mention.

    -JR

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