Chris James is an English author who lives in Warsaw, Poland, with his wife and three children. He has published three full-length science fiction novels and is currently writing a series of short story volumes inspired by characters in songs from the rock band Genesis. For more information, please visit his website or Amazon author page.
The big story over the last few weeks also happened to be an almost non-story, but this is what makes the internet such a remarkable thing. On the one hand, sudden global exposure can give an important but off-beat issue the publicity it truly deserves, while on the other hand, less important news gains more notice than it can justify. This is caused by journalists having to meet a constant demand for new content, and these stories tend to follow a similar viral pattern.
Should fiction writing be art, entertainment, both, or neither of those things?
Let’s take a quick look at a few other branches of the arts to compare the basic requirements. A painter cannot create art unless she knows how to mix the colours on her palette. A photographer cannot create art unless he understands the relationship between aperture and shutter speed. A potter cannot create art unless she understands the malleability of the clay and the speed the wheel needs to turn. All of these requirements are basics, before any issue of imagination, creativity, skill or talent can be considered.
Writers have just one basic, raw material: the English language.
After nearly four years of looking at self-published books, I’m still amazed at the titles out there where the authors have not learned how to use the raw material. I’ve seen one independently published book with a typographical error in the actual title. When I contacted the author to point this out, they replied in such a way which confirmed they did not know how to use the apostrophe. Continue reading “Art for art’s sake; English for god’s sake”
Editor’s note: Chris James is absent, recovering from another bout of the highly infectious disease, FailedWriteritis. In his place, for this edition of Indie News Beat we are pleased to welcome some very special guests: former Monty Python stars Jon Cleaze and Erik Idol!
Jon Cleaze: Hello everyone! I’m here today to tell you about a wonderful new opportunity for all of you sad, little self-publishing authors out there whose books no-one’s ever heard of. Oh dear! Did I say ‘sad’?! Oh my, please forgive me! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘pathetic’. Oh well [claps hands], the news is this: The Guardian newspaper has begun a new, monthly competition to find the very best self-published books. Marvelous, isn’t it? Yes, I thought you’d like it. So now, you’ll be able to submit your tawdry self-published book to The Guardian and find out if it really is any good at all. Oh dear! Did I say ‘tawdry’?! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘crap’.
Erik Idol [tapping Cleaze on shoulder]: Er, excuse me.
Jon Cleaze: Yes? What do you want?
Erik Idol: Well, I was wondering…
Jon Cleaze: Yes?! Come on, spit it out! I haven’t got all day!