As I’m writing this blog post, an independent film company is considering one of my screenplays. I have no idea how many other movie scripts they’re reading. For all I know, they may be looking at hundreds of screenplays by more talented writers. It’s easy to talk yourself out of submitting your writing, just by thinking about how tough the competitions is, but that isn’t fair to you or your potential readers.
If you say to yourself, I’ll never be able to write like Suzanne Collins, or J.K. Rowling, the only answer I can think of is, “Good.” Why would anyone want to read a book by a writer who is just copying a famous writer’s style, when they can enjoy the unique voice of another writer? Although I think The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series were both very well written, I love reading books by new writers (or at least new to me), and immersing myself in the worlds they create. The series I’m reading now is The Expanse series by James S.A. Carey, and before that, the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve.
Is your writing good enough? That’s a difficult question to answer, because writers can have perfect spelling and grammar, yet no one reads their books. What one reader considers a cliche, might be considered appropriate for the situation by anther reader. When I read The Meg by Steve Alten I thought it had too many cliches, but it was a bestseller, and it was adapted as a movie as well.
It’s really about style. My wife didn’t enjoy reading The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, she found his detailed description of every rock and shrub irritating, just too much detail. I didn’t finish reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis because it didn’t include enough detail for me to enjoy the story.
You, the writer, have a choice to make. There’s no guarantee the book you submit to an editor, or self-publish, will be a bestseller; but it may be. It’s likely that some readers won’t appreciate your writing style, but even the most popular books are disliked by a portion of the people who read them. Whether you choose traditional publishing, or self-publish, the only way to discover how much potential you have as a writer, is to keep submitting material; and roll the dice.
Copyright © 2020 by J. Paul Cooper