Monday, October 06, 2008

Is American fiction of high quality?

One man doesn’t think so – and he’s a Nobel judge. This week's The Telegraph reports:

As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year's literature award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said that writers from the country that produced Philip Roth, John Updike, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald were "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging down the quality of their work.
“Yes,” says Engdahl,” it sometimes seems that the typical American novel is about a writer who has six friends who also happen to be writers. But there are also excellent modern American authors."

Hmmm. I scanned my shelves and two of my last 5 reads do, in fact, involve angst-ridden writers. (A Window Across The River/Matrimony) But even if the Nobels aren't given to them, there are some pretty happy American authors who are doing just fine. Here's a list of of the world's highest paid authors from Forbes'" Magazine.

But hey, Nobel judges aren't the only ones with reading pet peeves. Imagine if it was your job to read through hundreds of manuscripts? Well, Writer's Digest recently compiled a hilarious article called What Agents Hate.

A couple to-don'ts from this article that struck my reader/writer fancy:

“Avoid any description of the weather.”—Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

“In romance, I can’t stand this scenario: A woman is awakened to find a strange man in her bedroom—and then automatically finds him attractive. I’m sorry, but if I awoke to a strange man in my bedroom, I’d be reaching for a weapon—not admiring the view.” —Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

Stumbled across this little gem from the Big Bad Book Blog - an article called Fonts That Make You Look Lame.

Well, glad I found that before I commited to Web-Dings Wing-Dings.

You know, maybe today is the day YOU write a great American novel. Okay, maybe not a novel, but you could write one sentence. At OneSentence, you are invited to write a true story in one sentence. Lots of cool entries there. For example, here's mine:

"In the misty, morning light just after the rain had stopped, I could tell from the font of his tattoo that the handsome stranger in my bedroom would judge my American, angst ridden novel about my writer friends Nobel worthy."

This happens to me all the time. I swear.

What's your one true sentence today?

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