I've commented in previous posts about some of the books I'm assigned to review. Some are interesting reads, while others are, shall we say, not.
An interesting read results when an author considers their reader. This translates into straight-forward sentences (with no unecessary words dangling like useless branches waiting to trip up the narrative) and unique content that sparks universal interest (not how cute your daughter looks during her ballet recital).
The unpublished galley I just finished reading had neither of these characteristics, and included all sorts of "daughter" references (come to find out said daughter is grown and well into her 20s). The horrible irony is this: The author is a children's writing instructor, and her book is filled with all kinds of rookie mistakes. Too many words. No sentence variety. No overall structure. And she, high on her pedestal, proposes to tell parents how to help their children become better writers.
How this got past the slush pile and into the hands of an editor (who must have been sleeping instead of making corrections) I'll never know. The only thing I can figure is that she spearheads a lot of well-known literacy organizations and she lives in New York (location, location, location).
So this begs the question: Do connections and location trump writing ability? The Twilight novels point to yes. So how can good writers transcend these barriers, and get their writing recognized in the way it deserves?
I wish I had the answers to these questions. If I find them, I'll be sure to share in subsequent posts. In the meantime, I'll keep sloshing my way through the stinky swamp of galleys.
-The Writer Librarian