Friday, October 07, 2005

Deliberating on Donavan

Donavan Hall lives right across the world in Long Island New York but because we care about so many of the same issues, he really only lives next door. I was halfway through a wise and witty response to his post about how the problems facing writers where he lives in, are essentially the same as the problems writers face here, which was in turn a response to the interview Beth Yahp which I posted a couple of weeks ago.

And then Blogger went down for maintenance. Suddenly. Without warning. The words were lost and the mood was gone. I should compose offline like sensible people, but I'm not sensible. Perhaps greater forces were trying to tell me to stop pontificating!

Anyway, there's a lot of food to chew on in Donavan's post - how far do we share the same problems? Go take a read and let me know what you think. (Sharon in teacher mode, eliciting from the class!) It's a theme I'll be revisiting ...


Nizam Zakaria said...

Sharon, you can now use Microsoft Words to post your blog:

bibliobibuli said...

Nizam - that route is for sensible souls.

The Angler said...

The fundamental problem regardless of where a writer is located is how to get their short story or novel into the hands of the people who want to read it. The question is about removing barriers to communication. The problem is that in removing barriers, new barriers are created. The quantity of novels can become a barrier, a big one for readers trying to choose what to read.

A group of a hundred or so serious fiction writers will be able to produce enough reading material for each other such that the reading needs and the being read needs of each writer are satisfied. The constitution of this hypothetical group could be arbitrary and would possibly be self-selecting. Here's what I have in mind:

One hundred novelists will produce about twenty to thirty-three new works per year (assuming a production rate of one novel per three to five years per novelist--that's how long it takes me, at least). The average modern reader (I'm guessing here based on my own reading habits) will read about fifteen to twenty novels per year. If the one hundred members of this group made a commitment to read, review, and discuss as many of the works coming from their group as possible, it wouldn't take too many years before the really good novels produced by the group would be recognized.

Members of the group could come and go as they please. But what would remain constant is the group, the group's web site, the group's critical blogs, the lists of ``self-published'' works by the group members and where to buy them, etc. I'm thinking that even readers outside the group would be interested in read the one or two best works that come out of this group's process.

I would hope that the membership of the group would be diverse. It would be nice to have Malaysians, Long Islanders, Scandinavians, etc. part of the group to ensure a diverse reading list for the other members. Membership would be voluntary and to stay active the novelist would have to participate in reading and reviewing other's works in addition to writing their own novel every three to five years. The minimum we would need to get started would be a central place where everybody's looking for information and, of course, the hundred core members. I'm sure between us we could probably come up with a hundred novelists that would want to form such an international community of writers and readers.

Anonymous said...

Actually angler, I think you've just described the Internet :)