Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Is It Important?

First off, I'd like to thank Donald Maass for asking this question recently at the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction Writing Conference. Second off, here we go ...

You've just finished your latest novel when your hard drive crashes. Oddly, the back-up's failed as well. A fire consumes the only printed version you had. Your critique partners threw their copies out and, sadly, your mother never read it. In other words, your new masterpiece is completely gone. But wait, your one friend has the only remaining copy. They'll give it to you so long as you answer this question:

Why is this novel important? Why does it matter?

So what's your answer? I'll tell you mine in a little while.

Happy Writin's!
Gary . . .

Monday, June 4, 2012

Content Trunps Quality?

We hear about writers who've self-published who are offered huge publishing contracts. I won't mention names; you either know who they are or you don't. Their books are selling by the truckload, making the authors thousands of dollars. Their advances are for multi-book contracts. They have made it. Yet their writing, their craft has not.

Their books, many have said, are poorly written. Be it plot, dialog, characterization, grammar or punctuation. These people seemingly have not taken the time to learn their craft. However, all that doesn't seem to matter if the content is interesting enough. Not only will people overlook bad writing, they'll even say the book's well written. I've read bits of some of these books and the writing is simply amateurish at best. And yet the content is so compelling (to a LOT of people, though not everyone) that readers will forgive the author.

But what of all those teachers that told their students to spend years honing their craft and always strive to get better? Is that lesson relevant any more?

Why should it be acceptable that YA fantasy is written poorly? We should be offering those readers a better written book so they understand what good writing is. We shouldn't accept adult books written at a 5th grade reading level. Or, if the story is that darned good, should we simply forgive the writer?

I want to be a better writer. I want to write compelling stories, but not at the expense of craft. Personally, I don't want to put an inferior product out there. Readers expect more and they deserve better and they won't come back to an author if a book is that bad. At least they shouldn't.

So all this begs the question: Does quality really matter any more when it comes to selling ebooks? What do you think?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just wanted to let you all know about a couple of upcoming appearances.

APRIL 23rd (Mon) 7pm
FROM THOUGHTS TO PRINT: Getting Published in the 21st Century
2 Jean Walling Civic Center East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Featuring: Jon Gibbs (moderator);Uta Burke; Gary Frank and Bill Mingin


APRIL 28th (Sat) 2pm
FROM THOUGHTS TO PRINT: Getting Published in the 21st Century
340 Plainfield Avenue, Edison, NJ 08817
Featuring: Jon Gibbs (moderator);Mickey Flagg; Gary Frank; Jim 'JJ' Lair and Dan Wilensky

Both of these should be a lot of fun and whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned writer, I'm sure you'll learn something. So come on down. If you can't make one, come to the other. If you can make both, come to both. I'll make sure to say different things so no one gets bored!

Gary . . .