Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Harder Than It Looks

That reminds me of the Led Zeppelin song Going To California that ends with the lines
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.

No, let me assure you it's harder than it seems.

There is someone on the internet who's had a well-respected blog for many years.  I have been in absolute awe of him, copying phrases turned so well they would make a master craftsman jealous.  Heck I was if not jealous, dismayed by my own failings in comparison.

But one must press on with whatever meager talents they have, right?

Recently. this person published his own novel.  (Good for you!  And good that you Kindled it!)  So yes, I ordered it and Amazon says it's in transit (along with a cool book of recipes from a Boston bakery).  I've been a little trepidacious.  I expect to be blown away by the magnitude of his prodigious intellect and emotional depth but how will that make me feel personally?  I suppose I could lose a whole day of work on Burning Daylight while I nurse my wounds.

Then I read the first two reviews that came into Amazon on this book.  One was extremely positive.  Then other was not but it was astute and it made me believe the reader saw something quite accurately even though he also has vast admiration for this man.

The gist of the review was that whatever we see and admire so greatly in this man's blog, has not translated into the form and structure of a novel.

This novel writing trick--it's harder than it seems.

Today so much bad writing is successful.  Slap a story together about  whatever topic is currently popular and you can have a kindle bestseller overnight.   You can write mysteries about a donut shop, or anachronistic historical fiction.  You can appeal to an audience who doesn't know any better because that's about all there is out there.  But to do it well, that's harder than it seems and apparently even someone with greater intellectual wattage than I possess and an Ivy League education, can stumble.

This quote from the Academy Award winning screenwriter Karl Luedtke can be switched with any number of professions.  It's like the "Police Work/being a solider/being a firefighter/being a whatever is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror."  I like to believe it originated with him but maybe it didn't.  "The easiest thing in the world to write is a screenplay.  The hardest thing in the world to write is a good one."

The easiest thing in the world to write is some crap novel.  People do it all the time.  Smashwords is flooded with them.  The hardest thing in the world to write is a good one.

Shop Vac from Jarrett Heather on Vimeo.

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