[A few months ago several Second Wind authors were having an open discussion in which their inner anxieties about literary unworthiness were being expressed. To be sure, Alfred Adler was correct when he said, “To be human is to feel inferior.” So we all feel inferior and we’re all imperfect, but the fine writers who make the unique college of Second Wind Publishing authors have nothing to be ashamed of. In part to encourage and in part because of the heartburn I feel toward the traditional publishing establishment, I replied to the authors. Today I’d like to share these thoughts here on our blog.]
It’s just not that hard to believe in good writers who have produced good stories that are well told. I would not expect this extremely individualistic group of authors to agree on the process of writing, the end goals of writing, how to edit what is written or anything else about our “art and sullen craft” (wasn’t it Milton who called it that?). The truth is that everyone at 2nd Wind does have a few things in common: 1) an inexplicable need to write (that separates us from 95% of the population); 2) the ability to produce a coherent novel length, consistent, literate story (that separates us from about 90% of the 5%); 3) each of the novels you all have written is engaging–drawing the reader in to the world you have created (that slices the remaining 10% of 5% by another 50%); and finally 4) a willingness to trust a total stranger you met online with your most precious internal creative art (that whittles it down to about two dozen people out of the rest of the human race).
But among these two-dozen writers, the differences are astounding. No two of the romance authors even have the same style (not even the two who are sisters). No two of the crime/mystery writers have remotely similar interests. There is no common thread among our mainstream novelists except that they have extremely readable, distinctive voices that people need to hear.
I would encourage everyone, as you participate in this list serve, to share your thoughts and to share what works in literature, in promotion and in the creative process, knowing that what is helpful for me might not be helpful for another. The worlds being created by our romance authors are not necessarily accessible to the people who have not written a worthy romance. My point is, the writing being done by each of the writers in this loose association is unique according to genre and individual voice.
That sounds trite until you ask yourself this: what is the plot of the Hollywood movie. I say “the” rather than “a” for this reason. The next time you see a big budget Hollywood movie, the plot will be as follows: an engaging, attractive hero/heroine will become caught up in a worthy effort to change/protect/ restore/create something against great odds; after some initial discouraging resistance, our hero will make progress to a degree and encounter an attractive person of the opposite sex with whom he/she will have a problematic relationship; just when it seems our hero is about to succeed, there will be additional complications and, at just about 90 minutes into the movie, our plucky hero will at last accomplish his/her goal! Is it any wonder people aren’t wowwed by Hollywood anymore? Well, the publishing industry is in the process of doing the same damn thing to fiction novels. One of my personal goals is to allow each writer published through 2nd Wind the opportunity to express his or her literary voice without editorial homogenization (which is not to say you won’t be challenged if I think something needs to be fixed!).
In the meantime, don’t expect your readers or even your colleagues to always get what you’re doing. I don’t necessarily agree that great writers write alone. Rather I think that great writers stand their ground when they have something original to say. My job is to let you say it and to get people to read it. –Mike