___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

it still says bum on the passport


So at the end of July I get to be a published novelist -- if you want to stretch the definition and include Westerns in the classification of novel.

What do you mean “It’s a book, so of course you’re a novelist”?

Ah, sweet, naive you. Sweet naive me, too. But I’ve learned it doesn’t really work that way.

While no one can ever take away the fact that I’ll have written and published a book with a respected publisher, the type of book I’ll have published will certainly weight people’s prejudices.

“A Western? What, cowboys and stuff?”

“Uhm. Yes.”

“Oh dear.”

Some writers will tell you that they’ve enormous admiration and respect for anyone who can trot out the required number of words and make them something like cohesive, throwing in characterisation and plot and maybe even some nice prose every now and again. While others...

Hmm. Putting it politely, as they rarely do: You do it properly and aim for high art or you’re a hack.

There’s long been a clash between mainstream and genre publishing. It’s best summed up with that old nugget regarding the definitions of what’s science fiction and what’s literature. “If it’s science fiction it can’t be good, and if it’s good it can’t be science fiction.” Thus SF pieces like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale are secreted out of genre and given a spit and polish and promoted as mainstream literature. While some fine SF novels, Dune or The Fountains of Paradise say, are happily left in the ghetto.

There’s not even the single ghetto, either. There are plenty of them. Crime’s a ghetto. Fantasy. Romance. Chick Lit. Sad Git Lit (as I call the writers producing the male equivalent of Chick Lit). Even historical fiction. And you can bet your bottom dollar and all the phlegm in the spittoon that the Western is a ghetto area too. Mainstream is the exalted place, standing high and remote above all others. To some writers at least. Even if mainstream fiction takes so much from genre, sadly to its detriment without its writers even knowing it.

Me, I guess I’ll just keep bumming around. But just in case it offends anyone, I won’t be putting “Writer” down on the passport any time soon.

Steve M –(1 August 2012 at 21:14)

Novel or not, I'm enjoying Hour of the Black Wolf and will be reviewing it soon.

Steve
http://westernfictionreview.blogspot.co.uk/

Mark –(2 August 2012 at 20:39)

Hi Steve. Thanks for that. Hope you like the rest of it. I've added your blog to my links page, hope you don't have a problem with that. And I'll be over to read what you're up to too.

Steve M –(2 August 2012 at 23:46)

No problem with you adding the link Mark. Have finished the book, really enjoyed it. Hopefully will post review tomorrow (Friday).

Mark –(3 August 2012 at 18:35)

And a very nice review it is, thank you, Steve. I feel a new blog post coming on . . .

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