search
top

That was then

Typewriter

Typewriter

 

I often hear, “Why can’t I write like (fill in the name of a famous writer from the ‘60s, ‘70s, or ‘80s?)”  Folks tend not to like my answer: That was then. This is now.

Tastes change. Trends change.

I came of age when you could title a play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad,” or “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade,” or a book “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me,” or “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.” These days, the smart money goes with short titles. One to four words. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe shorter attention spans.

And, yes, some writers of the past wrote paragraph-long sentences full of descriptive language that advanced the plot not one inch. Readers today have so many other options for entertainment, and, frankly, they have shorter attention spans. They won’t stick with you if you take tangents. Again, because little in writing is absolute, some writers working today still get away with it. James Lee Burke is one. Unless you have his chops, his following, and his backlist, I’d suggest you not try walking this particular high wire.

Push the envelope a bit if you want to. Don’t shred it. That’s my advice anyway, for what it’s worth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Note: This post is over 2 years old. You may want to check later in this blog to see if there is new information relevant to your comment.

By submitting a comment here you grant this site a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution.

top