The 10 Gallon Liberal

The Plight of the Modern Author: Anakana Schofield

Canadian author Anakana Schofield offers a provocative and scathing takedown of the current plight of the author. She also touches on (in the bold below) the problem all writing teachers face: you simply can't teach someone to write who hasn't read. Even if certain writing gurus say you can.

These days, an author, especially an unknown author, must – in order to entice any readers to her work who aren't blood relatives – write endless unpaid blogs, articles and responses for newspapers and magazines and random people creating things in basements. What results is the subsidising of publishers by outsourcing the marketing of the book to the writer, and now and again the subsidising of often giant media corporations, who in times gone by would have had to pay her.

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Third: why is there so much fuss in the media about how to write a novel – "everyone can become an author" – when the more important thing is how to read one?

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There are no adverts that instruct you to sit down, have a cup of tea and read. This, I suspect, is because there's no economic advertorial kickback from those acts.

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There seems to have been a shift from a reading culture to a writing culture, a diminishment of critical space for the contemplation of literature. Writing needs to be discussed and interrogated through reading. If you wish to write well, you need to read well, or at least widely.

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