Tuesday, 9 June 2015

My latest 'beginners' article in Writing Magazine... and another thing.

This month's article in Writing Magazine is called Do Look Back, and deals with the knotty problem most writers face from time to time: that of knowing when to stop writing more of what you've got (when it probably isn't necessary), but instead, making sure there are no holes in the storyline behind you.

I liken it to planks in a jetty stretching out over a blue sea. It might be nice for it go out much further (as in, away from other people), but if there are any planks missing, the structure isn't safe or complete.

Writing Magazine - in print and on line - here

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And Another Thing...

As if writers didn't have problems enough, we now have calls for the year 2018 to be "... a Year of Publishing Women. ... the basic premise (being) precisely what it says on the tin: all new titles published in that year should be written by women." (see Kamila Shamsie's piece in The Bookseller, - 'The Year of Women'.

Now much of what Ms Shamsie says may be right - I don't know. If deliberate, it needs correcting. Although in an industry with a large number of women making the decisions, as agents, editors and publishers, maybe they're the ones to look to for the answer.

But in calling for this 'imbalance' to be addressed by excluding all male writers for a whole year, she is plainly unbothered by the idea of adjusting one bad situation by creating another... of demanding that men step down in their jobs while - presumably, if I read her right - allowing women to catch up.

Isn't this discrimination against male writers?

As a professional writer, the idea of downing keyboard for one year is unthinkable - and unrealistic. I make my living by writing, so what should I do instead - go stack shelves just so somebody else can feel good about a perceived unfairness?

All the authors I know, of both genders, have got there by working hard and being perceived by an agent or publisher as being good enough to be published. Other descriptions might include compelling, interesting, gripping, fresh, provocative, creative, thrilling... and a whole host of others.

But I wasn't aware that any of these adjectives were gender-based. Men and women alike, as far as I'm aware, stand the same chance of being published... or not.

So, no apologies, but I won't be downing tools for the year 2018. Nor, I suspect, will many other male writers.

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