Bad Writing is a documentary about a wannabe poet who sets off on a quest for answers about bad writing, good writing, and the process in between. What he learns from some leading figures in the literary world will inspire anyone who has ever dreamt of creating art. Featuring interviews with David Sedaris, Margaret Atwood, George Saunders, Steve Almond and Nick Flynn.
The ability to go to war with one’s own awfulness requires a special kind of moxie. I believe that many people have the talent to write. But very few have the courage to rewrite. Even fewer have the courage to rewrite fail, and live to do the whole thing again. And even this gets it wrong. It makes it sound like all of this is some sort of choice.
This topic fascinates me. I so want to see this documentary. I did a lot of reading on talent last year: Outliers, The Talent Code, Talent is Overrated. Seriously, if it had “talent” in the title, I was there. I also reflected on my on rate of failure (epic), in particular, during the last year. I have some definite opinions on writing, talent, success, failure and all the rest. If I can get them into coherent form, I’ll post them here.
Look! A book giveaway over at Booking Through Thursday! The author is offering signed, personalized hardcover copy, and all you need to do is leave a comment on this post over at Booking Through Thursday.
About the book:
From Amazon: When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore with a tiny passenger on her back.
Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He’ll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he’s resolutely mute.
Troy assumes that Paul’s frantic parents will be in touch with the police or the press. But what follows is a shocking and deafening silence. And Troy, a freelance writer, finds herself as fiercely determined to protect Paul as she is to find out what happened to him. What she uncovers will take her into a world of wealth and privilege and heedless self-indulgence—a world in which the murder of a child is not unthinkable. She’ll need skill and courage to survive and protect her charge and herself.
Sara J. Henry’s powerful and compelling Learning to Swim will move and disturb readers right up to its shattering conclusion.
Wow! Sounds great. I’d say, “Good luck!” to anyone who enters except I want to win.
I am paraphrasing from a friend’s Facebook wall her question:
“How would a teen-age boy who is going to work with his hands ever use Literature of England in his work?”
The age-old “How am I going to use this in real life?” question. How would you answer it?
Participants this week are writing some wonderful answers. For the sake of time, I’m going steal mine. From one of the writing craft books I’m working through (yes, it’s true, the answer to the question about reading is in … a book):
Stories don’t show the audience* the “real world”; they show the story world. The story world isn’t a copy of life as it is. It’s life as human beings imagine it could be. It is human life condensed and heightened so that the audience can gain a better understanding of how life itself works.
*Note: The book is billed as a screenwriting book (hence the use of audience), but it applies to all types of stories.
Books, literature, stories teach us empathy. What’s that old saying? You never really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Literature lets us do that. Never mind cultural literacy, I believe reading can make us better people.
Plus, having a passing familiarity with the Western Canon means you don’t have to have people explain song lyrics to you.