My Fiction Writing
by Tim Kavi
I am writing a novel, but I will be honest with you, I am most unhappy with it at times. Someone said though to get that first rough draft done quickly and rewrite, rewrite, afterwards. Perhaps there is a lesson here for me. There is the story, the vision in our hearts, and that which gets put on the page. Sometimes it seems so different! Many of my writer friends and editors I know in the business (some of them quite well known) have told me secretly that to be 'successful' novel writers in the US, a novel must be fast paced, brisk, and with an engaging storyline but not too complex. One even told me that it should be written so as to seem to not be beyond a fifth grade reading level ! *
I was bothered by this, but I guess I can see the truth in this for the mass audience. I do not like to dumb down my plots or storylines, and there are plenty of mainstream novelists (as opposed to popular novelists) who dont like to do it either, and don't, but they are already published, have a fan and reader base, and can sell almost anything they write. (Well maybe if they stick to what they were 'successful' at in the past).
As far as short stories, you know, I think my fiction stories don't read well, and Nancy Kress has it right, in: Beginnings, Middles and Ends, good fiction has to have a good opening, a middle story line, and ending. I am fairly good at story lines and endings...but my openings suck. In this book, Kress mentions the story in your head and spends a lot of excellent time (in the opening of her book) explaining how to write and revise your beginnings in fiction writing.
Also some critics (and I dont know who), once said that poets never make good fiction writers. Also screenwriters have told me that sometimes they have a hard time making the transition from writing for the cinema to fiction.
You know I dont want to believe this, although there may be a point here. Maybe writers should stick to what they know best. But maybe that should is too limiting. So far, I have been primarily a published nonfiction writer and poet. Yet, I long for more.
I know I have a long way to go. But you know, as far as fiction, I keep trying and my rejection slips prove it.
I will not give up. Every day is a learning experience. And I will again say the best way to improve your writing, is to keep trying, and to keep on writing. Perseverance is the the breakfast of all who achieve! --T.K.
* I researched this and according to askville.com (by amazon) the average reading level is the 8th - 9th grade level in the US, but many popular publications are written to lower levels than that, and many fiction writers write to the 7th grade level. And the research that was cited showed that one in five US readers has only a fifth grade reading level. Click Here to View.