Yes to this! I find the question “is it good?” to be nearly useless. So much if what goes into us believing something is good is down to taste. I have a dear friend and we have such diametrically opposed taste in books that one of us loving a book guarantees the other will hate it. So is one of us “wrong?” I don’t think so. I don’t want to write that way as the style doesn’t appeal to me.

Sometimes it makes more sense to me to think about award-winning work that leaves me cold in a different context, like music. I think of some writing like prog rock- that corner of music that is technically very difficult to play, but which I find boring. Musicians listen and say “damn!” and are generally impressed but it doesn’t make me feel anything, so I don’t listen to it. Perhaps this is an aspect of what some writers are doing- stopping a story in an odd place, which didn’t feel right to you as a reader looked like a tricky scale to the award committee.

Love these thoughts Sonal- thank you for sharing this one! 💗

Expand full comment
Oct 27, 2022Liked by Sonal Champsee

“Why am I good?” The million dollar question. I like this reframe very much, even if it’s hard to answer. I’m reading a Pulitzer Prize novel right now (recommended by a writer friend/teacher I hold in high regard) and it’s taking me ages to get through it. This is not my norm—I can typically rip through a novel of any size in 7-10 days. But I’m struggling with this one. The writing is beautiful and lyrical (my typical jam) but the story and pacing and characters are creating stumbling blocks for me. So I’m trying to focus on the parts I like: the magical turns of phrase, the heartbreaking detail. Stuff that resonates with me, that if / when I write this way, shows me the “why” (am I good). ☺️

Expand full comment