The Great American Novel

I had a sudden realization this week. It happened while I was reading a major news magazine and came across two pages of “novels to read this summer.” The subject matter in the selected books was varied, and serious. I mean really serious stuff.

Included was a book on the struggle of a family surviving war and genocide; another on teenage angst and the years after high school graduation; a tale of the ravages of AIDS across two generations; and a religious cult at a university.

The time it took for me to read the blurbs about these meaningful, informative, passionately written books equaled the time it took for me to realize that I am never going to write the great American novel.

Compared to those deep-thinking authors, my writing is simple fluff, in the fluffiest sense of the word. I write happily along, falling in love with my characters and putting them into cutesy or unusual situations, and I’m content. And, spoiler alert … my stories all have a happy ending.

And you know what? That is just fine, because not all of us were destined to write the deeply profound manuscripts with which our bookstore and library shelves overflow. There are just as many interesting, humorous, educational, suspenseful, exciting, colorful, (add your own adjective), stories and articles bouncing around our world and appreciated by readers, who are as diverse as those of us who write for them.

What I write may appeal to only a small percentage of people and they may not be the same ones you target. What’s wrong with that? This doesn’t mean that I won’t keep exploring and expanding and attempting to venture into different genres or areas of publishing. I’ll try different things and test the waters here and there, but I’ll still be happy enjoying what I do. Can it get any better than that?

Yeh, yeh, I hear someone mumbling something about getting rich with writing, but that’s probably not going to happen either. The best that most of us can hope for is to actually make a living at writing. So, go back to your computers and get to work on what you do best.)

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Author: writersconsortium

I've been a freelance writer for 40 years; published several hundred magazine articles in subjects from biotechnology to travel, inspirational to nutsy, and even written a couple of novels. I also taught a number of classes on "marketing your writing" at a local university, with several of my students moving on to successful writing careers a lot quicker than I did, and I was thrilled to have been a part of their journey. I always enjoy passing on to new writers what I have learned over the years, and I hope this blog will continue to do that.. The writing assignments I most enjoyed were for travel industry publications. I wrote for the National Tour Association, The Group Travel Leader and Bank Travel Management, which is now called The Elite Traveler. Now I concentrate on fiction and essays. I published one romance novel, Caribbean Charade, under the pen name of Louise Perry, but I have since republished it as Ell Wheeler. Caribbean Charade and my latest novel, A Spirit in the Heart, are both available in ebook and paperback on Amazon.com.

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