I refuse to write whipped cream stories. There are too many all sugar, no substance stories on the shelves already.
I don't know Mr. Cavanaugh. And I'm not going off on him personally, because these are just two little sentences and I have the impression that he tossed them off at least partly in jest. But please. Could we writers stop trying to plump up our own egos and promote our own writing by tearing down the work of others? Who benefits when we sniff and insist that we, unlike so many other writers, are determined to write quality fiction?
Do we honestly believe that some writers wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "I need money. I believe I'll write some garbage today. Good thing my editor is lazy and my publishing house wouldn't know quality if it bit their backsides--and the public can be fooled into buying just about anything. I won't even have to break a sweat. I'll just crank something out and mail it to New York next week."
I'm going to endeavor to make my point by making this personal: Some of you may not like what I'm writing, but you have no idea how much I care about my novels and how hard I'm trying to do my very best work. This is all I've got, folks. A couple of people reviewed my second book and suggested that I could have done a little more with it. Believe me, I couldn't have. If any readers were disappointed, I'm sorry, but I'm proud of the book because it was the very best work I could produce. I'm not a genius, okay? I'm never going to win a Pulitzer Prize. But if that's okay with me, why should it matter to anyone else?
Believe me, I'm fully aware that when other writers scoff at the "whipped cream stories" being published today, they're talking about my books and those of my friends. But you know, a lot of readers like the stuff my friends and I write, and they buy our books by the cartload. So this constant harping on the lack of quality in today's fiction is insulting not just to published writers, but to millions of readers.
I have a challenge for all the writers and industry professionals who have jumped on the bandwagon to blather endlessly about what a shame it is that so many "unworthy" books are published every year: Put your books where your mouths are. Stop yammering about how bad the current offerings are and show us what you consider to be quality fiction.
I dare you.
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