Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lazy Writing?

I read a few short stories this week that completely underwhelmed me. These stories weren't written by newcomers, writers who could be excused for not nailing all the conventions of storytelling, but pieces by established authors, names that any SF fan would instantly recognise.

I suspect that if I'd submitted some of these under my own name, they would have received a formal rejection.

(It would be an interesting experiment, wouldn't it? I submit one of my stories under an established name, and they submit one of their weaker ones under mine...)

I'm not talking about taste here. There are always going to be stories that appeal to me more than others. But these stories missed entire elements, had 'idiot' plots, (where the protagonist is required to be an idiot in order for the story to work), loose ends, unanswered questions, ridiculous coincidences that allowed characters to overcome difficulties, and in one particular case, no real story at all - that is no crisis or problem for the main character.

Why is this? Is it laziness on the part of the writer, or is it simply a matter of the writer having become a factory and churning stuff out?

Or, like Paul McCartney, are they unable to see their own work is rubbish and there is no one around game to tell them their work is sub-standard. Maybe they need an equal, a 'John Lennon' along side them who can give an honest critique.

As I've written a few times recently, these things are becoming more apparent to me in my own writing. I'm recognising my own weaknesses and working hard to address them. I'm understanding the elements required to create a satisfying tale. And I can see why my earlier work (in some cases) was rejected so quickly.

I truly hope that I continue to learn and improve. I never want to rest on my laurels.

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