Rhian and I were at the Jersey Shore this past week, and so we took along some W6-recommended crime novels. We really got into Lawrence Block's Hit Man, recommended by Mr. Saflo. It's a lighthearted (if you can believe that) book about a hired killer, and I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than many of the literary books I've read lately.
This is kind of a theme lately, I suppose...thinking about what makes a book good. Ambition is not necessarily advantageous, and neither is depth. When a book is those things, and still good, then that's great--but, as I've said here recently, I think what I'm looking for, above all, is honesty: to one's readers, to one's characters, and to one's own preoccupations.
Anyway, this brought me back to a thought I've been having on and off ever since we started this blog, and that is that maybe we ought to write a writing guide. I mean, we talk here a great deal about writing--our processes, our philosophy, our successes and failures. So why not write a book? We are not the most wildly famous writers in the world, but so what. It wouldn't be about getting published, it would be about making something you can be proud of. Which, for both of us, I think, is the goal.
The thing is, I've never really loved a writing guide. And there are already so many of them out there. Does the world need another? Probably not. Still. With more than a couple of decades of writing and teaching between us, we probably have a few things to say that someone might enjoy. If Lawrence Block has managed to turn out four writer's manuals (and yes, he has), then surely we could manage one between us.
Do you ever feel as though you want to read a good book about writing--an inspiring book, an entertaining book, whatever--but the thing you want doesn't seem to exist? What are you looking for in a book about writing, if in fact that's what you're looking for?
And should its title be something like The Ward Six Guide to Writing a Novel? Or do you prefer one of those cryptic metaphor titles, like Shaving the Deacon's Goldfish: A Life In Writing, or A Thimbleful of Opium: Finding Your Voice, or perhaps The Bastard in the Butterchurn: A Novelist's Companion?
Or should we just stick to blogging?
PS, big thanx to Ed for posting so diligently in our absence.