Recently, I had the opportunity to review a non-fiction, non-religious book. I won’t name the author or the book because only a few pages into it, I found myself disagreeing with a major premise, and greatly disliking his repeated use of a four-letter word. A more polite substitute carries the same meaning but he chose not to use it. I did finish reading the book and found other beliefs with which I could nod in agreement. However, I could not bring myself to promote the work.
I do agree 100% that a first draft of a book is NOT garbage. Without a first draft of anything, whether blog post, essay or book, a writer has nothing to work with, nothing to hone. Yet due to the level playing field that publishing has finally reached with self-publishing tools, too many first drafts actually get published. Publishing that first or even second draft, is a disservice to everyone who tries to wade through it.
Such publications inevitably reflect the sinking standards of a society that has lost its way and verges on illiteracy, even for the supposedly educated. Writers must learn the rules of writing before we can break them. It isn’t difficult to spot a writer who never knew the rules of language to begin with! And I’m not in any way referring to theme, plot or characterization, just the writing itself.
The mainstream has little need for academic writing, yet it has its own place in the world. It will continue to thrive there, even though diehard male professors of English and other disciplines continue to insist they will never work for a female Dean. Hopefully, such professors are now looking carefully at the train coming full bore at them through their tunnel of darkness.
I will be the first to agree that there’s nothing worse than working for a bitch in any field, whether academia, medicine, banking, the military, science, even religion…you name it. And women hate working for her even more than men do. Top notch professors make good Deans, and so forth, if they don’t mind being ripped to shreds by their associates. Most conscientious professors don’t even seek that kind of responsibility but will accept when it is offered. The same holds true in other fields:
- The best salespeople don’t really want to be managers. It takes all the fun and challenge out of a day’s work, replacing them with headaches and frustration.
- Most good news reporters would rather be out in the field, doing what they know best, rather than stuck in a TV anchor’s chair, running the risk of developing an enlarged head.
- The best lawyers don’t aspire often to be judges. They carefully study judges and learn how to work with their nuanced or flagrant behavior, so they can do the best job possible for each of their clients.
Always, the exceptions make it all work and preserve their integrity in the process.
The best writers remember to respect their readers, except for the Internet trolls that plague the medium (if trolls could even be classed as readers). Disrespect for potential readers can so easily be turned into respect with a little extra time and effort. Laziness is as a broken tool and should be replaced with alacrity.
The main reason I veer from the unnamed author’s attitude is because he advocates publishing lousy writing because that’s first of all, what the writer has to say and the only way he knows how to say it. In addition, that’s what the more ignorant want, which brings in the big bucks. He calls it “effective” writing but that does not always meet the definition of communication.
I could yell and write like any fishwife from the docks or any guttersnipe from the streets, but it wouldn’t validate my world view, or more importantly, help anyone else broaden theirs. It would only show that I’d raised myself dockside or curbside under appallingly coarse conditions, without even a prayer of an ‘enry ‘iggins coming along to bail me out.