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Old 05-21-2012, 06:14 AM   #46
kennyc
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American writers are better than they've ever been. I can think of several novels written by Americans within the last few years that are brilliantly written and each unique in its way:

Heir to the Glimmering World, by Cynthia Ozick
Visit to the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Lord of Misrule, by Jamie Gordon
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
and, how about Michael Chabon?

Oh, and Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson. A book at least the equal of anything written by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, etc.
Well, I agree with the sentiment, if not with the selections.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:40 AM   #47
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Isn't the great American novelist more likely to be working as a script-writer for premium cable, than as a struggling author these days?
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:19 AM   #48
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Isn't the great American novelist more likely to be working as a script-writer for premium cable, than as a struggling author these days?
Yes. Or doing indie flicks.
But that isn't "literary" so it doesn't count.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:32 AM   #49
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Isn't the great American novelist more likely to be working as a script-writer for premium cable, than as a struggling author these days?
I think the Great American Novelist these days is plugging along writing novels. The doomsayers simply haven't yet given their blessing. But good novels will still get written regardless of whether or not the doomsayers approve.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:59 AM   #50
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Isn't the great American novelist more likely to be working as a script-writer for premium cable, than as a struggling author these days?
I don't think there's any reason to expect an American novelist to be working as a writer in any other medium or profession (though, obviously, if they are already employed as a writer, their writing should be that much more polished). As long as they have the time, almost anyone can write. And if you're working for TV or movies, you may not have enough free time to write your own projects, from what I gather about those mediums.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #51
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And if you're working for TV or movies, you may not have enough free time to write your own projects, from what I gather about those mediums.
Quite true.
But you do get paid regularly which is, apparently, no sure thing for lit-fic writers.

One thing I've noticed of late: quite a few "bestselling" writers have been doing comics and other media. (Pretty good stuff in some cases.)

So there obviously is room for a day job after bestseller-dom.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:29 PM   #52
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Quite true.
But you do get paid regularly which is, apparently, no sure thing for lit-fic writers.
Yup. That's why I'd take a job writing for Hollywood over writing books for crapshoot sales on Amazon. Though, if the Hollywood writing worked out, it would likely increase your sales of your own books. So: Write one dynamite screenplay, and market it into a successful writing career... that's the American way!
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #53
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Recently I was at the home of an American writer. He has written about 10 or so books over the last 30 years. One of them hit really big, and was made into a Major Motion Picture. The rest did ok, some died quietly, I think. He also writes for a newspaper.

Here's the thing. This guy lives really well. He has a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, and a really nice art collection. Is that what ONE really big book gets you? If that one book is big enough? Is that what a movie option gets you, if the movie gets made and does ok?

eP
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:50 PM   #54
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elemenoP -- it is like the rest of society. The widening economic divide but it has been true in the entertainment field for longer than in the general population. Depending on how big it hit, how much the movie rights were worth....then yes possibly. Look at Harper Lee, she wrote one book, that's it. Not that she is in a Manhattan Penthouse, but I think that is more by choice.

P.S. you have to tell me which author you are talking about?

Last edited by kennyc; 05-21-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:04 PM   #55
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If it is dead, can somebody give me a ride to the memorial service? I'm not a huge fan but I'd still like to pay my respects.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:35 PM   #56
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To me a classic is a book that stays with you. One remembers it based on thoughts depicted, not on the enjoyment supplied. Something in the writing (whether thoughts, actions etc.) affects your view of a segment of the world, makes you challenge your own preconceptions.

Not my favorite reading by any means, but I have pretty plebian tastes. Still I manage to stumble upon at least three or four books a year that stay with me and challenge my perceptions of reality. Classics are still being written, American or not, and I think that most will endure.

Helen
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:05 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by elemenoP View Post
Recently I was at the home of an American writer. He has written about 10 or so books over the last 30 years. One of them hit really big, and was made into a Major Motion Picture. The rest did ok, some died quietly, I think. He also writes for a newspaper.

Here's the thing. This guy lives really well. He has a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, and a really nice art collection. Is that what ONE really big book gets you? If that one book is big enough? Is that what a movie option gets you, if the movie gets made and does ok?

eP
Some people hit the big score. Most don't do that well, even people who are successful. It reminds me of the "artist lifestyle". There are some artists who hit it big, and live in grand expensive houses and go to the right parties. Most don't. The starving artist meme exists side by side with the contradictory idea of the artist with the grand lifestyle. More artists will live the former rather than the latter. But I have run into artists who really seemed to think they really should be living the grand artists' lifestyle.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:11 PM   #58
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I'd like to just make a living and I'm not that expensive a date.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:34 PM   #59
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Is that what ONE really big book gets you? If that one book is big enough? Is that what a movie option gets you, if the movie gets made and does ok?
My understanding is that the option alone can be pretty healthy, if there's a bit of competition to secure it. If not, the lion's share comes from the movie being made, and possibly much more if it becomes a hit.

Hopefully after any of that, you can market your popularity with the script/movie, and run from there.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:36 PM   #60
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There's a bit of a time span between Dickens and Lawrence. It sounds like he could think of a lot of great books over that 50-year period, but he hasn't seen as many in the past 10 years. Maybe he's seen a fifth as many? It's hard to look back and compare to now because "a long time ago" spans a greater length of time.
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