|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
First of All. Apologies for the Delay. Busier Than Normal Evening.
THE FUTURE OF LITERATURE AND PUBLISHING IN THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY
I HAD NO IDEA THERE WAS A ROADMAP! DOES IT SHOW WHERE THE STARS LIVE TOO?
This is one of those questions that turns up at literary events where they have panel discussions. It gets stated in several different intervals...The next year. The next decade. The next quarter century. Or, as in this ambitious endeavor, the entire twenty-first century!
Will literature and publishing change over time? I HOPE SO! Otherwise it would get just a bit monotonous. Right? There are, of course, going be those movements that will attempt to redefine the face of the art, whether prose, poetry, the essay, or some combination of everything. Is anyone actually capable of predicting what direction any of it will eventually take? If there is, I want to know if he or she can also do stock market picks and paramutual betting?
The simple answer is, no, there is nobody capable of anything more than speculating what the actual changes will be. That publishing will move more and more to the electronic realm is pretty much assured. (Ruling out an enormous burst of solar flare EMP knocking out all electronics as some of the doomsday fanatics predict. Might be a cool thing to run some Las Vegas odds on that!) There will still be hard copy books produced, but at a much reduced volume and perhaps more as boutique specialties for discriminating buyers.
The melding of styles and genres is already happening. The prose poem is becoming more prevalent. But let's dispell the myth of its shiny brand newness. The form has been around since at least William Wordsworth. It became commonly accepted during the nineteenth century with French symbolists.
History becomes ever more tied into historical fiction. Essays get more literary in nature with uses of comedy and drama to make and support their points, and everything takes the course it does by the whim of academia and common people. Which has certain advantages and drawbacks. The most notable is the esoteric nature of one side and the market driven nature of the other.
In the long run, as a writer, do I REALLY care? Uh...Nope! Nor should you. Other than adapting to the publishing changes, what does it matter what the latest fad or trend is? If you chase fads you end up on the tail end of them and, like the market, find yourself perpetually behind the curve. Writers with true passion chase two things, that voice and story that is authentically theirs. DAMN THE REST OF THE NOISE!! It's not about catching the train, it's about determining the route the train is taking. The only way to do that is write for yourself - not for the future of publishing, whether tomorrow or the next millenium!
Meanwhile, as always...live, love, write.
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Tomorrow, without speculation,
Dane F. Baylis