Reach for the Stars

The writer of potential greatness settles not for “mere fiction”

This post marks the beginning of the Tactic section, where we’ll look at how to take our writing to the next level. James Scott Bell starts us off by commending us to reach for the stars and not settle for mere fiction. So…what does that mean exactly?

According to Bell, it’s about writing more than just to pay the bills. An apotheosis, he claims.  I was like what? So I looked it up.

  1. The highest level of glory or power.
  2. The best example of something.
  3. Transformation into deity.

Wow. No pressure.

One of the best ways to improve our writing is to read. A lot. And across genres. But what books are considered the best of the best? Bell uses Herman Melville and Stephen King as examples of authors who’ve not settled for mere fiction, but Melville wasn’t recognized during his time, having only sold twelve copies of Moby-Dick. And King, well, most of us know his story.

So this leads me to ask: What makes a book the best of the best? Perhaps I’m over thinking this… but I don’t know if I could label books as “mere fiction”. What if I like “mere fiction”? Gulp. On the other hand, I can tell you the books I’ve loved, but they might not be everyone’s cup of a tea. If we over analyze and become too critical, won’t we ruin the reading experience?  Thoughts to ponder or not.  Either way, I’m going to read a lot, learn to write well, and dream big.

So, what say you? Agree or disagree? What books do you LOVE? What books disappointed and why? If you’re not writing a book, what “stars” are you reaching for?


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