When I brainstormed blog topics last year, one of the items I put on that list had to do with what it feels like to read a book I dislike that was written by a fellow, local author that I don’t like vs. a book I do like that was written by a fellow, local author. I’m not talking about reading and critiquing stories in a writers group; those by nature are going to be in a much rougher state. I’m referring to finished, published stories.
After attending a local writer’s conference, I bought books by some of the presenters. One of the presenters wasn’t from the area but many were local authors. I first read the book by one of the local authors and it had so many grammar and spelling errors that I wondered if it was edited before publication. It was an eBook and from my understanding, there can be a big problem with formatting. But it wasn’t just those problems I had with the book; it was the writing style and story itself. Just formulaic, generic, and disappointing. At first I felt odd for really, really disliking the book that much. After all, the author was a good presenter at the conference and I felt I had walked out of the classroom having learned something.
Yet it almost made me realize that if something like that could get published, perhaps I could get published, too. In my head, and it’s probably delusional or arrogant to think this, I knew I could do better. I knew my writing could be stronger and hopefully my story ideas are a bit more interesting than what I had just read. In a way, it was an inspiration for me.
The flip side of that is reading something quite good by a local author you’ve met or listened to at a conference. That, too, is inspiring because there can be this notion that only ‘successful’ authors come from big cities. I’m sure the reality is that just as many ‘successful’ authors come from small towns to mid-size cities. To read a book, an enjoyable book, by a local author is great inspiration. Sort of the ‘small town person does good’ type of a thing. Location of the author doesn’t matter; just the world of the book!
I guess what I’m trying to get at that is no matter what I read, whether it is by an author I know or have met that is good or not so good, I find it inspiring. It makes me realize that there may really be a chance for me to ‘make’ it as a writer.