"She doesn't write, she types."

There's an interesting discussion on the quality of books authored by black writers going on over at Blogging in Black. Check it out! http://blogginginblack.com/

I titled this post after the famous, rather bitchy quote by Truman Capote regarding the writer who knocked his In Cold Blood off its #1 position on the best seller list: Jacqueline Susann. Ms. Susann, now long dead, held the record for the top-selling author for a very long time in the 60s and 70s, from just three novels. Her work is a good tool for any writer looking for a lesson in how to hook a reader. The books that made it to the marketplace were excellent and riveting; but people who worked with her said she was a marvelous storyteller with less than stellar writing talent; her original manuscripts required extensive editing and rewrites.

Could what we really need be more effort from the editorial staff? Nice thought, but hard to do, with most editors already overworked. Reminds me of a quote from the movie Arthur, when Dudley Moore's Arthur asked his butler, played by Sir John Gielgud (I know that's spelled wrong) to do something for him, and Sir John replied, "Perhaps you'd like me to wash your dick for you." In other words, Arthur had to take some responsibility and not leave everything up to his staff.

If writers write (and not merely type) and editors edit, we can probably meet each other halfway.


Gwyneth Bolton said...

Good point and great post. Here's my view as a professor... no manuscript is ever perfect and everything can be improved... we should strive for perfection, but...

I think we have all picked up a piece that we wrote years ago that we wish we could rewrite and revise. So yes, all we can do is write the best stories we can as well as we can and hope that our editors do their best... Always knowing that it will never be perfect...


bettye griffin said...

I'm especially pleased to hear your views on this posting because of your credentials as a professor and novelist. I also believe that we should strive for perfection, even if we don't quite get there.

Thanks for sharing.