When you’re a little kid, people praise you for being quiet. They don’t want you to be interrupting and shouting and all that crud because they are adults and there are rules and so on.
But when you’re a writer, you start to get worried that you’re too quiet, that your books are quiet books.
What does that EVEN mean?
A quiet book tends not to be a book that has a ridiculously outrageous hook or a thriller plot with a lot of car races.
They might not have an apocalypse or a murder, but quiet novels are full of things too. Things like character and details and thought, often deep thoughts that would make philosophers like Derrida go, “Hmm…”
A lot of times writers tell me that they worry that their novels are too quiet, but what I really think they’re worried about is that their novel is too boring.
Awesome hooks and elevator pitches like, “My novel is a cross between Harry Potter and the Iliad, but with vampires,” are awesome hooks and elevator pitches that scream quite loudly, but that means nothing if the story isn’t deep, doesn’t resonate, isn’t well written.
And there is a place for the thoughtful novel, the bare novel, the poignant novel especially in this world of chaos.
Others say it better
But the sort of quiet books I am talking about are those stories that gently meander along, taking time to savour the small, quiet moments of simply living, the often small cast of characters in the story taking their time to get to know the others in their lives and to learn more about themselves. This is how the reader becomes involved in their most intimate moments and discovers, quietly, not only about the characters in the book but about themselves.Jenni Odgen, PHD for Psychology Today
If you are worried that your book is too quiet, don’t worry. Write the best story that you can, fill it with thought and craft and love. Release it out into the world gently and passionately. I promise you that we need it.
As Emily St. John writes,
In the places where everyone drives, the roads fill with single-occupancy vehicles in the mornings and the late afternoons, thousands or millions of drivers in their solitudes. On a subway commute, packed in with strangers in an underground train, solitude is more elusive. We resort to small tricks to find some space for ourselves: the noise-blocking headphones, the iPad, the book. I wear earbuds on my commute, but unless I’m too tired to read or the person next to me is loud, the iPod in my pocket is dark. I just want things to be a little quieter, so that I can disappear into my book more fully. In those moments I just want to be a little more aloneEmily St. John Mandel for The Millions
In this unquiet world, we need quiet books. We need moments of contemplation, of deep empathy, or being sucked into others’ stories. In this unquiet world and country where there is so much pressure to financially succeed, we need the heroes who write these quiet books from their heart, books from their spirit that defy commercial expectations and pressures and still soar.
Here’s a link to a quick list of some quiet books.
WRITING TiP OF THE POD:
We’ve started cooking on video. Shaun does this one and it’s our first, so be kind even as he does the Chicken Liver Thrust Dance. My video channel is also starting to host the podcast as well as writing tips and more. Check it out here. Please subscribe! It’s free!
WRITING AND OTHER NEWS
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!
My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON
On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.
HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!
BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!
Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!
No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?
I do art stuff to help me get deeper into my stories. You can find it and buy a print here.
People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.
FLYING AND ENHANCED
Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction.