Broken Pieces

5 Writing and Reading Myths Debunked. (Sort of) by Brad Cotton

Myth 1.

Everyone has at least one good book in them.

The Truth:

Writing is bloody hard. And, while everyone may have at least one story that will break your heart, putting it down on paper is not something innate. I can visualize a really great painting, but hell if I can paint it. I can fathom the coolest dunk, but I couldn’t reach the rim with a pogo stick and jet pack. Writing a great story takes a lot of practice and a lot of hard work. Granted, it comes easier to some, like dunking a basketball would to a seven-footer, but constructing a good sentence and weaving a comprehensive yarn are not something with which you’re born. Try it, of course, but know when to move to music or barn raising instead.

Myth 2.

Every book has some redeeming qualities.

The Truth:

Some books are just plain bad. They say that simply completing a novel is an accomplishment, and that the feat alone should be lauded. Nonsense. I can take the time to construct a car from scratch, but if it doesn’t drive, what I have is a mess in my garage. Sure, I’ve spent countless hours welding and molding and twisting a wrench, but that means very little if I still have to walk to the store. I’ve started many more books then I’ve finished. I’ve turned movies off in the middle. A very long time ago music composition was left to the true geniuses like Mozart and Brahms. Now all it takes is high school poetry and a Macbook. Some books should never be published, and that’s okay. While not every book has redeeming qualities, every would-be author certainly does.

Myth 3.

Publishing is hard.

My first two responses may seem a bit cynical, so I might just surprise you with this one. Publishing is easy — if you’re willing to take the time to do it yourself. My first book was published by traditional means. I queried agents and publishers, I got a book contract, I handed over my manuscript, and 9 months later a book arrived and I cut the cord. I’ve since spoken to many self-published authors and realized that doing all the leg work ones self is not only rewarding, but not really all that difficult. There are countless how-to websites, books, and personal accounts available at a glance. The Internet offers so many channels to publish both print and ebooks that the problem you may indeed face is which service to use. And, it’s cheap! You could conceivably go from manuscript to finished novel for under $1000. Should everyone do it? God no. Could they? Yes.

Myth 4.

Most Authors are eccentric and weird.

Authors are not eccentric w… Never mind. Authors tend to be eccentric weirdos.

Myth 5.

Printed books are dying.

Like local newspapers, printed books seem to being going the way of the Quagga. Never heard of a Quagga? Ever wonder why? One of the major contributors to the dying-book hypothesis is that you don’t have to look very far to find a Starbucks where your local bookstore once was. Well, you heard it here first: Printed books are alive and well. I’ve read a few books on my digital device, and sure, it’s handy-dandy when traveling or when I’m in need of over 500 novels at one time. But there is — and will always be — something about holding a real book in your hands that your digital device cannot replace. The smell, the texture, the sound of turning pages. The stains, the dog-eared pages, the torn cover… Wait, what was I saying? Right, while ebooks have overtaken printed books in sales, the good old paperback is here to stay. Forever. There will come a time when digital devices will be old hat. My niece isn’t impressed by technology the way her grandmother is. And, when the day comes that the power goes out, or we are taken over by a rogue alien colony, we’ll all be reaching for our yellowed hard copy of 1984 after working in the mines.


Best friends Duncan and Ray run a successful bookie business in Phoenix. Outgrowing the life they began in college, the late twenty-something pair set out on the road with a plan to never return. Their trip takes them cross-country with eventful stops in Las Vegas, Omaha, and Niagara Falls. Along their journey they meet several colorful characters and even agree to bring a pretty young girl named Ruby along with them for the ride. Landing in Boston to run an errand for an old friend, the travelers begin to lay roots in an attempt to forge for themselves the life they’d always hoped for. Easier said than done. As romances begin to burgeon, and one of their lives is put in danger, the group quickly discovers that where they are may indeed have little effect on who they are.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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