Writers of Tomorrow

This+is+an+image+of+the+book%2C+%22Angela%27s+Ashes%22+by+Frank+McCourt

This is an image of the book, "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt

Isaac Mendez, STAFF

In 2019, over 328,000 books were published. Thousands of stories about tragedy, comedy, horror, and other genres were carefully written by authors to make them fly off the shelves of a local library or common chains of bookstores. Although readers decide to only read novels, others choose to ask themselves, “What is it that makes a story sell?” Could it be the vibrant allure of the cover? Or the mysterious title that stimulates the mind to search for meaning? The well known LA Times journalist and storyteller, Chris Epting, who has written many books based on locations, people, and memoirs, answers questions on what makes a story sell.

What makes a good author in Epting’s eyes is being honest as well as humorous. He brought up examples such as Mark Twain, Jack London, and the children’s author, Shel Silverstein, and explained how they gave vivid descriptions of what they were writing. Epting also explained how good writers are able to mesh topics together such as writing a story with scientific aspects. He proceeded to say that he is “very hopeful about the quality of writing we are seeing today by many young authors and journalists. Many of them [bring] an immediacy and urgency that wasn’t present before we entered the digital world.”

The new generation is able to express “more opinions and perspectives about things they’re writing,” he said, and is something he recognizes as imperative to the future of writing. When asked about what makes a good novel or nonfiction book, Epting stated that “what always makes the best titles stand apart is how good storytelling is and how strong the conflicts are.”

Though there may be a skilled author at the keyboard with a great story, time to write and adhering to publishing times is not to be ignored. Epting expressed that depending on what you plan to write and how long it takes to find a publisher, it could take “between one and a half to two years in many cases.”

Done properly, the writing process can produce masterpieces such as the infamous, Tell-Tale Heart, written by Edgar Allen Poe. WiseGeek, a home for writing fanatics, recommends to prewrite or brainstorm. This is the “idea phase of writing, when an author decides what to write and research” about, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. Good writers must know their topic like the back of their hand and not write false material. The second step is to draft a piece that will portray the overall theme. This should be done to see the mistakes that were made so that revisions and edits can be made on missing information, comprising the fourth step of the writing process. The final step is to present or publish work to whomever the project was written for.

A survey conducted at Huntington Beach High School showed that out of 30 students, only 12 truly like to read, while eight students lie somewhere in the middle. A important factor as to why the number seems so low is due to the constant use of technology. About 60 percent of teenagers, from the age of 13 to 17, spend nine hours a day online, stated Jenny Anderson from QUARTZ, and what’s even more shocking is that children from ages eight to twelve, spends about six hours a day. The number of teenage readers have been immensely decreasing, with 47 percent of 17-year olds saying they would only read once or twice a year. Similarly, video games have officially received center stage as well, with 2.5 billion gamers worldwide and estimated to be worth 90 billion dollars in the year 2020. This is taking children’s eyes off scholarly or just fun to read books, to be blindsided by the screen they put in front of themselves.

Though the process may be long and grueling, it is also done with the most enjoyment. Novel writing is not just any other job, it’s an art with a blank piece of paper being the canvas for the literature to spread across it. For one to take a story and run with it, whether it be an article, nonfiction book, or novel, which could fill a few hundred pages, is astonishing. If someone’s wish is to show off their writing skills, there are plenty of sources to learn to become a true author. The Slick News Website, the common blog, or even picking up some novels at the local library can be a start in gaining traction and practice. To the writers of tomorrow, best wishes on the books that follow.