I’ve known Kevin got years outside the writing world for years! He’s very insightful, and for this post he shows that. Enjoy this piece by my friend, and fellow author, Kevin J. Cunningham.
Welcome to the age of Infosaturation.
Never before in the history of the world has it been so easy for people to access information. Sure, the world’s not perfect, and not everyone can get the information they need. But even that aside, more people have reached a point that none of our forefathers ever foresaw.
There is too much information for us to get. Which leads to having a choice of information.
And this may not be the best thing in the world.
So here we are, a collection of a couple of dozen independent and small-published authors, trying to get our stories out there. There has always been more author’s hands than reader’s eyes in the world seemingly, but that’s never been more pronounced than now. For everything that technology has done to make things easier for readers to get to books, it’s also made writing a lot easier for us authors.
(Authors, I know technology may seem like something we fight, while figuring out spellcheck, and formatting and borders and tabs and pagination and header and…. but let’s face it, it beats writing everything in pen and ink, and then having to redo the entire damn book AGAIN for the next draft. And that’s how War and Peace was done!)
But now, there’s so many things out there for people to consume, in all the various formats, that it’s hard to capture those eyes for long enough anymore. It’s a competition, a fight, and a dirty one than that…dirtier than the fight between the offensive and defensive linemen in an NFL game. When my publisher talked to me about being published, he said that he wasn’t looking for writers, he was looking for prostitutes.
Too often, I find that we (as people) are blaming the other people for what they choose to read. We blame them for watching certain television shows, or television at all. We blame them for watching or reading particular news sources over others. We blame them for focusing only on mainstream news, or only fringe news. We blame them for reading and believing without double-checking. And we blame them for the crap.
I do it. I’m guilty of it. And I’m ashamed of myself when I catch myself doing it.
It’s true, I have judgments about what I think people should read or shouldn’t. The truth is, it’s probably not a viewpoint you agree with…I’m pretty contrary.
But what’s more important to me is that I shouldn’t be worried about what others are reading. What I should be focusing on is what I give others to read. I can only control that. I like to create. I’m a photographer. I’m a writer. Once upon a time, I fancied myself a filmmaker. At another time, I conned a whole bunch of people into thinking I was a poet. But no matter what, I’m a story teller. But it’s not enough to tell stories.
The stories I have to tell need to be good ones. They need to be compelling. They need to be butchered so that they don’t go off track. They have to have good people, both the fake kind and the far-too-real kind. They have to be flawed, and they have to be people that someone can relate to. And most of all, there has to be a point. Otherwise, it’s not a story, it’s just gossip.
The book I wrote, To Hell With Fate; or, Why The Best Valentine’s Gifts Come From Mini-Marts, is aimed at young adults, or young-ish adults. My next novel will be a fun take on erotica, explicit and all. After that, historical fiction. There’s an urban fantasy down the line. And considering the webcomic I write, at some point I’ll write about baseball, when I find the story. And I hope that others will find the characters good and real, and flawed, and relatable. And I hope they’ll see the point.
I can’t control what other people read. I can’t control what other people write or say. But if I want other people to consume better things, then the only thing I can do is create better things.
And maybe hope that others will, too.