Friday, October 2, 2009

The great divide

My new baby just arrived - the cutest little netbook with the sweetest smile (no its not wind) and we have bonded already. It is just adorable and I am very happy with it. Oh, that everything in my life was being as cute and adorable. I have one last assignment to do for my university course and I cannot wait for it to be completed and in the post, except that i actually have to do the work for it to be completed and in the post - argh! Life will be simpler when I have finished the assignment, done the exam and the university year is over. Still I have learnt a lot and its all good information. And best of all I have been forced to buy some gorgeous picture books for the course as text books. Today I picked up Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez (Gecko, 2009), which I needed to finish that last assignment. This book is annoyingly genius. It shows that you don't need a totally new or complex idea - sometimes the simplest twists are the freshest. This book deliciously subverts the fox stealing the chicken cliche in a most satisfying and poignant way and worst/best of all, does it all without words thereby making people like me feel horribly redundant. And I love it to bits and feel very pleased that I had an excuse to buy it. You should read it. I defy you to be unmoved.

I have been grumbling recently about the huge variety in quality of books that are getting published. I cannot help but look at some and think my story is better then that, why does it keep getting rejected. Of course I may just be delusional about my own stuff but when I stumbled across an old post of one of my current fave bloggers Nicola Morgan on the very topic of why the quality varies so much it made annoying but helpful sense. Whether I'm personally deluded or not, Nicola made some great points here. Two of Nicola's points stood out for me. 1) Publishers produce stuff they believe will sell. If it didn't sell they would stop producing it. Its that simple. 2) And one of Nicola's comments on why great stuff isn't getting published -although it's genuinely beautiful in many ways and you are a talented writer, you have not yet crafted a book which is good enough to be in the "great book" category but it is way too great to be read by readers of the crap category.

So for all of you great writers out there writing beautiful things - there is a ruddy great ditch that you have to claw your way out of to get to the far side that is publication. I think the recession made the ditch wider and a little deeper as well. Books like Chicken Thief and some of my other favourites like The Library Lion and The Lion in the Meadow and The Boy who Swapped his Father for Two Goldfish show me what to aim for. Jeepers, do I have some work to do.


Fifi Colston said...

or so we just create 'Willy Weka's Waka'- the Christmas edition?
I just recieved my baby yesterday too- a new laptop, and coupled with the new printer (my other one died a noisy and messy death in the admin office of Spinning Gold) I am ready to rumble!
ooh...faster processor, lots of RAM and huge storage space- like a whole new house really with all the mod cons!

Pen said...

I know what you mean about the variety in the quality of books published. I hate picking up a book that looks great only to open it and realise it is hideously written. It is so frustrating. Instead of being able to sit back with a coffee and enjoy it, I end up stumbling over awkward sentences and mentally rewriting them, then giving up in disgust and wondering how on earth it got published in the first place.

Being a writer can be so depressing at times.

Love your Were-Nana book by the way. Such a neat ending ... I wanted to yell out "Yeah Nana, you go girl!" :D (only I didn't 'cause I would have been looked at oddly by the other folks in the bookshop!)

Keep up the good work.