On Cruft

Introduction

Fans of lengthy and complex novels often encounter the sentiment that shorter works are better because they get their points across economically, that the dreadnoughts of literature contain too much boring armature, and that to persist regularly reading books over, say, 500 pages smacks of pretension and elitism. Those charges can be true at one time or another. Sometimes it seems we’re stuck in an either/or situation where readers are either hostages or idolaters. Continue reading

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From Canada, with Despair

Pasha Malla, a Canadian writer, has put together some thoughts on the current state of how we speak about writing in Canada. I imagine some of his points will be familiar to readers in other countries. Up here fiction writers don’t talk enough in the open about such matters, and his at times humourous approach is welcome. “27 Thoughts About CanLit” — there could be hundreds. But he was only being paid so much, as you’ll see.

On the latest set of rules for writing—Canadian version

I

In Canada there are two national newspapers. One, The National Post, runs a section called Afterword. On 28 March 2013 Chad Pelley, an award-winning Newfoundland author lately responsible for the novel Every Little Thing, offered readers a glimpse into his experiences as a writer, as well as rules. He doesn’t call them rules, and is careful to use that word only once (about others), but his commentary is filled with the words should and must. These are the sorts of words found in legislation, and that’s fitting, as he’s offering a bill for writers. Don’t you just think John Gardner when you hear about rules? It’s not as bad as that because Chad isn’t Gardner, but it still does make the heart sink.

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