Is it just me or do other/all writers find that after they’ve gone through the drawn-out process/slog/torture/life-altering experience of writing a novel and then editing/correcting/proof-reading it over and over again they develop a nose for (shouldn’t that be an eye for?) and heightened intolerance of shite writing?
I’ve got a Kindle. I think that I should have, really. Last week, in preparation for a flight and a week away, I downloaded some free books (I expect people to buy mine when the time comes, but I’m not spending my money on other people’s plop). In the past I’d have stuck with some of them and hoped that they might buck up. In the past I wouldn’t have been so critical. In the past I probably wouldn’t have paid so much attention to grammar, syntax, semantics, punctuation, plot development and layout. Now I do. And it’s refining my reading experience to the point of ruining it.
I tried three books put up on Kindle by wanna-bes like me and after a couple of chapters all three ended up being filed away in my Kindle shite folder. And then I unwittingly found that I’d done the same with an author who had a real publisher and hard-copies of his books out there. All the time that I was reading these I was thinking, ‘my books are better than this rubbish’. They were appalling; painful and depressing (owing to the quality or rather the lack of it). The guy with the publisher had a plot development that made no sense and saved his hero from drowning. I went back and read the build up four times and was still none the wiser. He just copped out and waved a magic wand and up to then it hadn’t been that bad, actually.
But that’s not good enough. The book has got to be very good in every respect and without flaws in the plot or it’s sunk.
I suppose that I’ve been learning from all this too, but, man, it’s sure sullying my reading for pleasure. One of my few.
So, what to do to get over it? What’s the antidote? Download a free classic. Enter The Thirty-Nine Steps. I’m two chapters in and finally I can relax and immerse myself in the reading experience. It might be dated, but, like Conan-Doyle for example, Mr Buchan’s writing has a timeless quality. No complaints here. Sometimes it’s true that the old’ns are the best. That’s him up the top by the way.
Mind you, now that’s reminded me of that awful BBC adaptation of the book a few years ago starring Rupert Penry-Jones, who I rather fancy for the lead in my Patrick Sansom books when they are optioned by Hollywood. Alas, so much to do.