Read on for my explanation of:
A) Why writers might consider my opinions and advice (or not).
B) How and why I make Reading Suggestions (including why I’ll recommend some “eyebrow raising” titles).
The writer asked, “Why should I listen to this guy?”
My biggest credential for having a “writing advice blog” is my attitude. I love the challenge that writing affords. Though I’m occasionally tempted to break my own fingers, I still feel fortunate that I am writing instead of doing just about anything else. Every time I’m working on a scene and realize, “Nope. This isn’t working” or “This was so much better in my head than it is on paper,” I treat is as a puzzle to solve—so my advice comes from a positive attitude and the end goal is always to make the writing better while still enjoying the process itself.
You should know upfront that I am flawed. I can give you several reference points for this. Better yet, ask my wife.
Disagreeing with me is a sign that you are a thoughtful person. That being said, I plan on convincing you that my preferences/tips/guidelines are good ones. I’ve learned much from trial and error. I’ve read Gandolf knows how many articles, books, and interviews related to writing and the publishing industry. While I am confident that my advice is sound, you have to do what you want to do. Don’t let me limit you in any way.
Always remember: Creativity will die the day we all agree. You should experiment. You should break some rules. See if it works! If it doesn’t, you probably still had fun and learned something about your own writing. Go for it!
Yes, I have taught writing and literature for over fifteen years, was an English major, read and write as much as I can, etc., but really, my advice comes from my belief that writing is fulfilling in so many ways. If you enjoy it and want to get better, then I hope this blog helps.
Regarding My Reading Suggestions:
Brief Explanation for Young Adults/Teenagers:
If someone objects to you reading a particular book, you should probably read it (at least, someday). Read as many banned books as you can. The reason they got banned is that they are interesting and challenge the status quo. And sometimes, a book gets banned simply because narrow-minded people thought they knew better than any of us what WE should be able to read. That’s messed up and un-American.
So I’ll suggest plenty of books that adults will no doubt condemn for one reason or another, most often because the subject matter is too “adult.” But that’s your decision to make. Not theirs.
Brief Explanation for Adults/Parents:
I want teenagers to enjoy reading, so if I think they’ll like a particular book (even one that is not in the Young Adult genre), I’ll recommend it. Sometimes adults don’t give teenagers enough credit—most teens can “handle” plenty. High school students watch rated R movies, play first person shooter video games, and are doing Lord knows what when out with their friends. Given all of this, some serious fiction isn’t going to make them “go bad.” Even if they’re reading violent, vulgar, sexy fiction . . . they are reading fiction instead of doing any of the other things teenagers are prone to do! So let them read! Stay out of their way!
All that preaching aside, I won’t be recommending The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to twelve-year-olds. I’m liberal but not imbecile.