Hello! Good to see you. Make yourself comfortable; have a browse through the books whilst I get the drinks (yes, Wordtryst, I do have some cold drinks this time. There’s even some cheap Calvados from my holiday for anyone who needs something stronger). With all the financial turmoil this week I’ve been wondering what the effects will be on all of us as writers so this morning’s topic is about where we go from here.
I’m starting by looking back; I’ve been revisiting my books this week – both reading and writing. There’s a very pretty Bloomsbury Classics edition of ‘The Great Gatsby’ on my shelf which has done nothing more than look decorative for years. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel in my early teens and it left me completely unmoved. I’m definitely not an advocate of age-related reading but when I picked ‘Gatsby’ up again this week I was mesmerised and couldn’t help wonder if life’s rough and tumble had made me more appreciative of what I was reading. I’ve always felt that timing is a key ingredient to a novel’s success and maybe it’s not just about finding receptive readers but about capturing the zeitgeist too.
That prompted me to think about the longevity (or not!) of my own writing. I like to write small; small communities, small (but hopefully universal) conflicts and plenty of contemporary references. In view of everything that’s happened this week I’ve not only got some rewriting to do but also some rethinking; maybe my preoccupations with the ebb and flow of everyday lives won’t stand up in a world of seismic shifts? How does your stock look in today’s market?
Finally, I guess that it’s going to get even harder for all writers, apart from the big brand names, to get publishers to take a chance on them. Unless, of course, you happen to come up with the next Big Thing. The talk of the ‘literary blockbuster’ this summer seems to be reflected in the 2008 Man Booker shortlist described by its Chair as being ‘intensely readable’ with ‘fine page-turning stories’. Seems everyone wants to be loved - or rather, sell. So what’s going to next big trend in the new recession? Sex and shopping ‘bonkbuster’ anyone?