Solution: Get A Good Editor
101 Reasons to Stop Writing. Maybe a more accurate blurb would be “101 Reasons Not to Get Published.” Yes, there’s a lot of dreck on the bookshelves, but wouldn’t some fault lie on the shoulders of the publishers and the editors who let it get past the slush pile in the first place? The writer is responsible for actually putting a crappy novel into existence, but is he really to blame for the reader picking up the book?
There’s a lot of bad writing out there, but people have to learn how to be smart readers too. I’m a rather fast reader, but most people aren’t and reading time is precious. It’s obvious that no one wants to waste their time reading bad books. But if readers spent a little more time picking what they read (by reading reviews and synopses, listening to trusted word-of-mouth sources, and ignoring what’s “in” or what’s “good for you”) instead of grabbing the nearest bestseller at the airport newsstand, more people would be avid and satisfied readers.
What most squicks detractors of Nanowrimo is the false expectation that some (arguably most) participants come away with. I’ve read a lot of Nanowrimo posts where people claim that the novel they write this November will be good enough to publish. I’ve also read posts where people won’t show what they’ve written because they think it’ll be so good that somebody will steal it. People use the Nanowrimo challenge as an excuse to call themselves writers and novelists–i.e. artists with actual discipline–without going through the hard work of editing so other people can look at them an awe.
But I’d like to say: let people write whatever they want. The critical point for good writing is not Nanowrimo itself, but afterwards when you have to do extensive editing to get rid of the bad parts. And if you’re not willing to edit, you deserve the heaps of rotten tomatoes thrown at you.
(Cross-posted at Writing Sya.)