This is from a review in the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) discussing two books about creative writing, The Future of Creative Writing by Graeme Harper and Writing Short Stories by Courttia Newland and Tania Hershman.
Disclaimer: I don’t subscribe to this newspaper. One of my neighbors, who does subscribe, gives it to me when he’s done reading. I suppose it serves me right for leafing through it.
“The lone writer does not exist anymore. Harper’s thoughtful book explores the experience of producing, publishing and teaching creative writing. Harper believes that the advent of digital communication and social media, which has already changed how we view and disseminate writing so much, will by the end of the century revolutionize creative writing in all its uses and forms. The finished product, the book as artefact, will continue to be important, but the reception of the writing, the dialogue between writers and readers will be of equal significance.
“For some writers this may be an unwelcome intrusion into what was once a private process while others may accept it as a necessary part of promotion. And yet the model of the writer working entirely alone to produce a manuscript harvested by a publisher like dropped fruit has never been entirely real. Most writers rely at some point on the shaping of their work through the feedback of fellow writers, and the acceptance by an agent or publisher usually means further revisions. Harper takes the idea of this process further by offering a future in which ‘we will not only seek out the reflection of cultural influence in work but in the working of creative writers.”
Well, yes. Most writers have first readers, writers’ groups, literary agents, and editors who contribute, to greater or lesser degrees, to a literary work.
But in the end, the writer always accepts responsibility for mistakes of fact, expressions of philosophy, ethical choices, stylistic rendition, and the vision. His or her name goes on the cover, after all.
So there you have it, my friends. Do you believe the “lone writer” will disappear? No thanks to something as facile as the social media?
I don’t know why anyone would take the time and trouble to write anymore, if that’s true. And the internal universe of the “lone writer” is so essential to the creation of new universes that I don’t see social media obliterating that anytime soon.
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