Monday, March 5, 2012

Are We Losing Good Literature?

I've read hundreds of manuscripts since starting High Hill Press, and one thing that bothers me is that although I'm finding some great writers with wonderful stories to tell, there are also a lot of bad writers with horrible stories. I keep asking myself why some would think they're ready for publication, when it's quite obvious to me after a quick read, that they don't know the craft. When I first started I set out to read every writers guide, every article about writing, everything I could get my hands on that would help me learn to write. I'm wondering how many of the poor submissions I'm getting come from people who haven't read a writers guide, or perhaps they don't read at all. I get an average of 100 queries per month now, and sadly I find myself rejecting 99% of them. The reason? Their stories are either not stories, or they have a glimmer of a story but are written so poorly it would take a complete rewrite to get the book into shape. I've grumbled and complained  that these writers aren't perfecting their craft before they send out a submission. Then I decided maybe they just don't have the great network of friends I had when I first started. Friends who also wanted to be writers. We helped each other by caravaning to conferences, sharing magazines and books with writing tips, and giving valuable critique and inspiration. When I reject a manuscript now, I include a list of writing guides that will help them learn the craft and rewrite their book. I suggest not only our writing guides, but some of the great ones I read when learning to write. And it is a learned thing. It's not a talent you wake up with out of the blue one morning. It's a craft that requires hard work and hours of reading, writing, and rewriting. Would you decide one day to be an airline pilot and the next day put your application in to Southwest Airlines? Think about it.

Two years ago we published our first writers guide, and have done four more since then. This is a perfect place for any writer to start. Pat Carr's Writing Fiction book is one of the best I've read. Pat is a gentle lady and she teaches in a gentle manner that just makes you want to be a better writer for her.

Pat Carr's book on writing
fiction.Writing Fiction with
Pat Carr canbe found on
Amazon or on the
High Hill website.
Regina Williams is the editor of Storteller Magazine. In 2011, Regina published Writing with a Mentor. It gives some of the nuts and bolts of writing, plus tells you how to form a group or network of friends that can help you learn.
Regina Williams and
Writing With a Mentor.
This book can be found
on Amazon or
Mary Horner is a teacher and writer and crafted this book to help the writer with interviewing, organizing, outlining your book, and much more.
Mary Horner gives us a great
book on writing non-fiction.
It can be found on Amazon
Dusty Richards is one of the country's best and most beloved of all western writers. He called on a few of his friends to help him with this book. Between the five friends that give their writing tips, and Dusty, writing a western should come easy.
Dusty Richards and a few of
his friends talk about
writing westerns.
Writing the West can be
found on Amazon or

Jory Sherman is a legend in writing. He has tackled every genre, was an original Beat Generation Poet, completely dominated the Western world for awhile, and has won every award there is to win with his writing. Jory developed his Master Course in Writing several years ago, and High Hill was lucky enough to publish it.
Jory Sherman's famous Master Course
in Writing.

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