where the writers are
Between Genres
Shrader Marks: Keelhouse

I heard a pro golfer explain a less than stellar round by saying that he kept hitting his tee shots so that he was always "between clubs" when approaching the greens. Now I'm hardly an avid golfer (what did that little ball ever do to me?), but I understand the dilemma. Club heads are angled to hit a particular distance trajectory. It's just physics. When the distance you need is a little more or a little less than what you need, you either crank up the swing on a short club or get wimpy with a long one.

I write the sort of books that I like to read. Okay, here's my heretical confession: I'm not a big fan of today's literary fiction. With some exceptions, the authors tend to be thrashing in a sea of words without any real hope of rescue or understanding which direction it is to the shore.

In the opposite corner are the action-packed thrillers that take every borrowed scene from every explosive movie the author ever saw and put them in a chain reaction. Okay, I overstate my case, but I am a fiction writer.

A good novel has character development and guiding direction. It also has to have something to say. I believe that the thing that separates good literature from poor is not the language or action of the story so much as the effect that it has on the reader. Good books change readers. When I look back over my life's reading list, it's the books that changed me that I remember most. Some were literary. Some were plot-driven adventures. Maybe the writers who "change" readers are the ones who've learned to play the game "between clubs" or, in this case, categories/genres.

My personal opinion is that I'd rather err on the side of cliche than be dubbed "euphuistic." Being readable is the first step of getting inside the heads of readers.

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Well said, but then I'm just

Well said, but then I'm just as heretical as you...today's literary fiction are just so many words (blah, blah, blah) on a page. ~nan