gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
gfx gfx
gfxgfx
 
Anybody interested in joining a behind the scenes critique group, please PM Ed smiley
 
gfx gfx
gfx
55850 Posts in 6180 Topics by 556 Members - Latest Member: wallynicholson666 December 16, 2017, 11:08:51 PM
*
gfx* HomeForumHelpLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2  All Go Down Print
Author Topic: Susan Hill's rant  (Read 9574 times)
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« on: January 21, 2010, 02:07:40 PM »

Susan Hill says amateur writers aren't as good as professional writers and ne'er the twain shall meet - http://www.spectator.co.uk/susanhill/5714598/no-amateurs-are-not-just-as-good-as.thtml - agree, or disagree?
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Woody
AnnoyEd
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 586



WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 04:55:30 PM »

I will read the article, but unless she's stating that professional writers are a happenstance of birth then where do they come from? Even in Stephen King's book "On Writing" I recall him describing how he started and that certainly wasn't as an immediate professional.  scratch
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 05:26:41 PM by Woody » Logged

___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
delboy
Global Moderator
*****

Karma: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 2231



WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 05:06:37 PM »

I'm guessing this was a bit of troll on her behalf because it's clearly designed just to wind people up. Surely every professional was at one time an amateur. And those amateurs who eventually sell something (and thereby become professional) do they, at that point, automatically become one of Susan's elite?



Logged

"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
Woody
AnnoyEd
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 586



WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 05:25:14 PM »

Bloody hell, what a poorly constructed argument, if you could call it that. What's got her goat?  scratch

If I understand what she had posited she's ticked off because some one has suggested to her that anything she writes and submits will be displayed without her name attached. Surely it's the story that will enrapture and not the name.

Does she have BNP membership? I mean how many times does she equate asylum seekers to the lowest of the low?

And if she's soooo good with her 43 books why does she still have to be a columnist?

And how does
Quote
Names, you see, are invidious.
Relate to the sentence
Quote
They might indicate to people that the story was worth reading.
It's a bit arse about face for my understanding.

I do not know any writer that does not work towards becoming better through whatever means available to them. Is she really saying that if you do not have a degree in English then you are automatically shite?

50 years as a published writer - 50 years too long if you ask me.

Susan Hill, please retire now and do everyone a favour.  cheers
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 06:45:14 PM by Woody » Logged

___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
delph_ambi
Guest
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 05:26:16 PM »

I agreed profoundly with every word she said. About time someone stood up for standards. Her analogies with art and music are spot on.
Logged
Woody
AnnoyEd
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 586



WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 05:36:49 PM »

I agreed profoundly with every word she said. About time someone stood up for standards. Her analogies with art and music are spot on.
I.e. You can't be an asylum seeker if you want to be a writer, you must have a degree in English (from the period she did her degree) and you have to be a professional from the off. REALLY!!  pissed

Lucky you, Delph, having the first piece you ever wrote published just like that - no rejections; just pushed out your mother's womb a professional writer. Come on.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 05:46:49 PM by Woody » Logged

___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
delph_ambi
Guest
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2010, 05:43:36 PM »

That's not what she's saying at all, Woody. She is absolutely, categorically correct in everything she says IN MY OPINION. Not in yours, clearly...  grin
Logged
PaulH
Mortician
****

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 270



« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2010, 05:52:12 PM »

I thought it was quite reasonable for a rant. Consider this - we have all worked hard to get to the level of writing we're at, no matter what that is. What this person seems to be saying is, would it be right for all of us to get into an anthology on merit, when other people get into it because of who they are rather than the quality of their writing? I'd be pretty pissed off if I thought the antho quality was dragged down because of some outside criteria that had nothing to do with quality of writing.

The point about having a name attached is that people tend to skip over names they don't know and look at the ones they do. If I'm in Waterstone's I'll always spot the books by authors I know and like, but my eye tends to wander over those that are unfamiliar to me. Is that the point the columnist is trying to make?

Also the columnist is saying that when she started, having a degree in English and working your way through newspapers and magazines was the accepted route into becoming a published author. She does say she doesn't care where you come from though, as long as the writing is quality. Couldn't agree more.
Logged
JonP
Critter
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1525



WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2010, 06:02:47 PM »

Um ... I read this yesterday and it annoyed me for a number of reasons.

1) Define "professional". I think we had a thread a while back about how many people there are in the UK (or worldwide, even) who can support themselves solely by writing, and the answer was (I believe) in three figures. Most of these would presumably be non-literary writers such as Dan Brown, which would make for an interesting elite. For a time back in the late 90s, I made a fair percentage of my income from writing software books. Was I a professional then? I knew bugger all about writing, that's for sure.

2) "Asylum seekers" Puh-leeze. Even the Daily Mail don't use that shorthand any more.

3) She seems to be making an assumption that the remaining stories would not be chosen on merit in any way. I would imagine that the organisers of the event would be wanting to show the best work that they had available ( even if they were from the marginalised etc.), and the fact that it was to be displayed alongside a writer of Hill's quality and reputation would presumably ensure a high quality of entry. That is of course my assumption rather than hers, but nowhere in the article does it say either way.

Yes, standards do need to be upheld, but I think this was the wrong context for the argument.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 06:04:28 PM by JonP » Logged

Woody
AnnoyEd
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 586



WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 06:08:11 PM »

Quote
I also have a good degree in English from the days when you had to read difficult writers to get one

Quote
there would also be stories by any old body who thinks they should be up there, nay probably has a human right to be up there,  and who has written a short short story - with special emphasis on those who have written them and who are marginalised, displaced, disadvantaged, bottom of the heap, discriminated against, asylum seekers.

Quote
But only if, not just because they have put one word in front of another, or because they’re asylum seekers

Quote
Every one of those others has just as much right to have their stories up there as I do, because, you see, they have written them – oh yes, and they’re disadvantaged. Maginalised [what no spellchecker; she's obviously too professional to use one!!]. Whatever.

How many quotes do you need? She's not written about standards she's written about the validity of the written word according to her because she surely believes she is the centre of the literary universe.
Logged

___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
PaulH
Mortician
****

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 270



« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 06:14:36 PM »

I think we're looking at the same article and reading our own interpretations into it. Can't see much point in arguing on and on when minds have been made up, especially not when I like being part of this site, so I'm not going to carry on.
Logged
desertwomble
Coroner
*****

Karma: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1803



« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 06:18:29 PM »

Quite frankly, what caught my eye more than anything else was the gratuitous mention (twice) of assylum seekers and the put downs of anyone outside of Susan Hill's traditional English society - the 'marginalised' as she sneeringly refers to them.

Nothing much else to add one way or the other.

DW Cheesy
Logged

Woody
AnnoyEd
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 586



WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2010, 06:31:04 PM »

The article as translated by Rose Tinted Glasses
232 words

One way or another I have been a published writer for 50 years. I also have a good degree in English. I studied and learned my craft because that’s how it works.

If someone writes a marvellous short story I don`t care where they come from – the sewer, the street, prison, a palace, a university…if the story is as good as one William Trevor can write, say, or Helen Simpson - or me - then good, let them go up there.
 
I said no to writing one by the way and not only because short stories, or even short short stories, don`t come to order. It has nothing whatsoever to do with money by the way, even if the labourer is worthy of her hire. Ask me to try and write a short story good enough to be put into an anthology alongside those of William Trevor and Helen Simpson and Alice Munro and…well, name your great contemporary story-writers - and I will try my best and hope my best will be good enough and if you don`t offer me a penny, fine, honour in the company I would be keeping is enough.

The highest standards really matter and I will defend them while I have breath. In my profession, as in music or painting or the top ranks of any sport, they are all that matters. If they don`t, we’re stuffed.


This is something I can agree with.

Logged

___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy
Geoff_N
Critter
***

Karma: +3/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2732



WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2010, 06:53:09 PM »

Damn, I'd written a long reply here and I lost it. I'm sure that wouldn't have happened to a professional writer.

The gist of my response was that Susan Hill ruins her case to an extent by refusing to participate in a Fringe Festival flash wall. She could have demonstrated how brilliant her 50-year-training is. On the other hand I recall my first day in teaching. A wise old guy pointed at elderly teachers in a corner and whispered: sometimes 40 years in a career just means one year multiplied 40 times.

Hill is correct to say that most successful authors have degrees in English or similar, or have worked in journalism or publishing. However, this doesn't mean they are better writers - especially with regard to enjoyable reading - but they have the necessary network contacts to succeed in the business.

Geoff
Logged

Pharosian
Obelizer
Critter
***

Karma: +6/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1623



« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2010, 10:48:06 PM »

Bloody hell, what a poorly constructed argument, if you could call it that. What's got her goat?  scratch

If I understand what she had posited she's ticked off because some one has suggested to her that anything she writes and submits will be displayed without her name attached. Surely it's the story that will enrapture and not the name.

Does she have BNP membership? I mean how many times does she equate asylum seekers to the lowest of the low?

And if she's soooo good with her 43 books why does she still have to be a columnist?

And how does
Quote
Names, you see, are invidious.
Relate to the sentence
Quote
They might indicate to people that the story was worth reading.
It's a bit arse about face for my understanding.

I do not know any writer that does not work towards becoming better through whatever means available to them. Is she really saying that if you do not have a degree in English then you are automatically shite?

50 years as a published writer - 50 years too long if you ask me.

Susan Hill, please retire now and do everyone a favour.  cheers


Oh, where to start?

I think it's worth noting that she didn't use the word "professional" anywhere in her rant. Ed used that word. She only used the word "amateur," which has two meanings. One is the person who engages in a pursuit or activity (such as writing) on an unpaid basis. The second is a person considered inept at a particular activity.

I don't know if she has BNP membership, and only being a stoopid Amurricun, I don't even know what that is, other than something to do with politics. I have a suspicion, however, that the reason she mentioned asylum seekers is twofold: one is that they don't tend to be native English-speakers. Some of them may barely speak English at all, and even if they do, their English composition skills may be lacking somewhat. The second reason is that if you read carefully, it seems that she was told that if she participated, her work would hang alongside that of some other well-known authors, as well as that of some people who were disadvantaged, marginalised, school children, and asylum seekers. It seems the organizers of the Fringe Fest wanted a real mix.

Regarding your next question, I have no information regarding how well or poorly her 43 books are selling (though it appears that 15 are currently offered for sale on her website), and I don't know whether she "has to" be a columnist or not. I assume she does it because she enjoys it, not because it pays the bills.

Moving on to the next item you were unable to puzzle out: the relationship between the two sentences is quite logical. First, you have to realize that she was being sarcastic, and the statement "Names, you see, are invidious" is an opinion she is attributing to the people who wanted to post all the stories anonymously. Susan Hill is saying that THEY think a famous person's name might make someone more likely to read one story over another, and therefore it is BAD to have names on stories. Because the whole point of these modern "democratisers" is to make everyone equal, one way or another. She's making a stand for standards, and saying no, everyone does not have equal ability.

And no, she didn't say anyone without an English degree is shite... Holy crap, do you have thin skin. All she said is that she got an English degree back in the days when it was required to read a lot of difficult writers to get one. I assume that means that these days one is able to get an English degree with a lot less effort and/or by reading authors whose work is far less challenging.

As far as I can tell, she wasn't sneering at those who are disadvantaged or marginalized or seeking asylum--OTHER THAN to the extent that people from those populations tend not to be fine writers for obvious reasons: They may have fine minds, but if they've been too busy just trying to stay alive to have spent any time getting an education, it's hard to see how they're going to have a collection of award-winning short stories in their suitcase.

I stand with delph_ambi and Susan Hill on this: There are standards of quality, and the highest standards really matter.
Logged
gfx
Pages: [1] 2  All Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Page created in 0.085 seconds with 29 queries.
Helios /
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!