Wednesday, 28 September 2011

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOK

Really interested in this video on David Maybury's blog, which I came across last week. People are criticising trade publishers a lot at the moment - and I have some criticism myself - but I was inspired by the people in this video. I love their real passion for what they do. I love their knowledge and their willingness to share with each other. They are looking ahead; they are being positive, ambitious, creative, lateral, generous, wide-thinking and free-thinking.

Too often nowadays we see people from one part of publishing industry sniping at the other - authors against publishers, publishers against self-publishers, literary against commercial, commercial against literary, paper against digital, unpublished against published, "indie" against "legacy"; we even argue about the names and their relative legitimacy. But these people just love books and words and they don't allow themselves to be restricted or blinkered by notions of what a book is or what it should be, as long as it's full of great creativity.

They are thinking outside the book.

However. Let no one forget that it's an author's mind that creates the words in the book and dreams up stories that sing. And let no one forget that we don't need technogizmery to do that. All we need is time, food and heartsong, a few people round a fire to listen, and we can then create mountains in your mind and spin the blood in your heart and ripple waves of laughter that will make you forget the ink and paper or the silicone gadgetry, however beautiful and clever.

Not a snipe at all. Just asking you not to forget what writing is, and where it comes from.

[Edited to add: yesterday I was at an event where an agent talked about an editor's job as "Publishing the gleam in the author's eye." Thus spake someone else passionate about the art of the author.]

10 comments:

liz fenwick said...

Your paragraph on what writers do is beautiful, true and poetic...

lx

Leela Soma said...

What lovely words about writing to wake up to Nicola? "Let no one forget that it's an author's mind that creates the words in the book and dreams up stories that sing." That whole paragraph is superb.
Leela

rodgriff said...

Thanks for that link to the video clip. I rarely watch talking heads for 15 minutes, but that was good, and a lot of food for thought. You are are star, how on earth do you keep up with all this stuff - oh I know, people tell you on Twitter - I must finish reading your book.

JO said...

Thanks for this, Nicola. A wonderful reminder to put publishing angst to one side and revel in story. that's the bit I love, after all.

catdownunder said...

And I will have purr-fect dreams as I catnap because of this.

Rebecca Emin said...

What a wonderful post. I loved the way you describe what writers do.

Dan Holloway said...

Marvellous. I remember when I started up Year Zero Writers, our very first post was called "sitting comfortably around the virtual campfire (http://yearzerowriters.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/sitting-comfortably-round-the-virtual-campfire/ ). Storytelling is not centuries older than books, it's millennia older, and it does us good to remember that at regular intervals

widdershins said...

A timely reminder ... thanks.

Lucy Coats said...

Thank you, Nicola. Heartsong - I like that very much. And I'm off to watch that video....

Augustina Peach said...

I literally had a physical little thrill as I read the part about sitting around the fire spinning new worlds for the listeners. That's what it's about -- storytelling that takes us out of this moment and into another. Love it!

Greta Marlow