Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good writing vs gifted writing

I'm going to be blogging a bit more these next few days as I'm expecting a deadline soon and then I'll simply disappear for awhile. So right now I am awaiting revisions for my first book, polishing my second, and doing research for my third. And I thought I'd only get to do this once I died! I used to console myself by thinking that if I couldn't write here, then I would be in service there. I am so blessed.

This is sure to stir some debate but since no one seems to be reading this blog anyway, I guess I'll just say some outrageous things with the disclaimer that I am not placing myself in the gifted category of which I am about to write.

That said, there seems to be a terrible trend in fiction today toward the shallow read. Lately I've been wondering if we have become so dumbed down by video games and tv that we expect a book to read like a commercial, etc. Fast and sort of mindless, shallow and somehow unsatisfying. All show and no stay, so to speak. And some of these books are bestsellers!

Now it seems to me there are two types of writing and two types of writers. I'll wager that most books being printed today are well written simply because the market is so competitive. But so many of these books don't sing. Sure, the writer can tell a pretty good story but there is not much passion in the writing, the characters are kind of flat/shallow, the plot is so so and the benchmark of a truly good book is missing - beauty.

Surely there is no higher praise than to have an editor or reader say of a book, "Beautifully written."

And I'm not talking poetry or romance novels. Some of the most beautifully written books I've ever read, that stir you so that you want to weep, are by men. Try James Alexander Thom's Long Knife or Allan Eckert's A Sorrow in Our Heart. These books are not simply well-written, they are beautifully written, and the writers are extremely gifted. I think Liz Curtis Higgs, especially her latest Scottish novel, Grace in Thine Eyes, would qualify.

There are many more but these are the ones that come to mind for me. I am not in that category but I long to be.

I guess many people want a quick read that doesn't require much thought and even less emotion and is soon given to a friend. But the beautifully written books, the ones that stir your heart and soul, are the ones kept and never traded. I have a few of these and wish I had more. If you know of a beautifully written book, please let me know. In the meantime I'll be dreaming of writing one.


  1. Hi Laura,
    Just so you know...........I am one of the ones who checks and reads your blog! It's great!
    Rhonda :)

  2. Laura, I read all your posts with pure enjoyment. I love reading words written from the heart and I'll visit your blog again regularly.

    One book that I keep by my bedside is a compilation of beautifully written poetry called "Love Poems from God--Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West." Edited by Daniel Ladinsky, the verses from the 8th through the 17th centuries absolutely sing with ecstacy in celebration of the natural and spiritual worlds. I've read them numerous times and never get tired of them. I've always loved works that bridge differences in time, space, and culture to illustrate universal truths.

  3. I'm reading this!!! Sure, I'm a little late but...

  4. Britt,
    Better late than never, I say:) I forgot all about these old posts. And I sure appreciate your reading them!

  5. Britt's not the only one! I'm so curious to see how it all began for you. Well, not began exactly, but where you started blogging it. :)

    And I've just reserved a few Thom and Eckert books from my library. I DO mean to read these two.

  6. I will probably wince at some of these old posts but sure appreciate you reading them, Lori. I hope you find Eckert and Thom to your liking. They have a voice all their own and there's lots of narrative:) A friend of mine couldn't get through them after I recc. them so they're not for everyone I guess. But I sure love them. Long Knife and Follow the River are my Thom favorites and then any of Eckert's are stellar.