A couple of days ago, a friend of mine and I were talking about publishing and our thoughts on what constitutes good writing and ideal concepts. I mentioned to her that I've been a bit disappointed in some of the novels I've read this year that had wonderful concepts but lacked in skill (in my humble opinion). I couldn't get three chapters through one very popular series this year, and I found myself asking "What is happening?"
As we discussed the matter further, we agreed that often times concept outweighs skill. But should that be so? I argued that having a great concept is wonderful, but a great idea poorly executed is just that - an idea. Not a reality.
Have we come to an age where talent lies in our minds and not on paper? Are we content with "neat idea" over unique voice? Do we seriously prefer something different than something beautifully told?
I feel like there is a world full of talented people waiting for discovery, and there is no reason to sacrifice one over the other. Most classics are both lovely and original. Why can't we have our cake and eat it too? Give me Literature! Give me something I'd want to re-read and quote for years to come. Please, please, please inspire me. Give me words that will not only take me to another world, but transform the one I'm living in.
And if we, as writers, can't execute the beauty in language, then we need to execute the project. (This is my theory, at least.) Sometimes works can be polished to obtain the literary value we all hope for, but sometimes it's not possible. I've trashed some of my projects because of my lack of skill to adequately convey them.
It's our job to retain the poetic value of literature. And what a daunting job it is...
Photo by Favim.