Speaking of literary oeuvres is something I like to do. Henceforth, today, I’d like to take a short moment of your time to talk about the issue of literary finesse. How can it be acquired? Finesse is the reminiscence of impeccable skillfulness. In literature, however, this talent can only be measured in relative term. What is perceived to be perfect for one group of people may very well be interpreted as mediocre for another. The book industry, for instance, can’t care less about whether a book lives up to the highest literary standard. The emphasis is usually on the author’s name—on whether or not he can sell books.
Here, I’m speaking in general term. In literature, there are two kinds of success: commercial and literary. From a strategic standpoint, commercial success is the hardest one to achieve, because of its materialistic dialectic. No matter how refined a literary work could be, it may still be overlooked or rejected by book publishers and literary agents alike if the author bears no name recognition.
However, literary success is downright easily achievable if authors know the rules of the game. There are a lot of rules that regulate good writing. None of them however surpasses rule number one: Read! An author should read more than he writes. Whatever your preferred genre in literature, a good writing implies many good reads. Reading brings the intellectual knowhow, which in turn translates into self-confidence. Besides writing with eloquence and clarity, an author also needs to have an acute understanding of human behavior. Furthermore, he or she needs to master the quintessential flair necessary to interpret his/her surroundings. This is especially true in creative writing.
The problem is that many writers lack the wherewithal, the literary savvy, and they simply rely on a bizarre form of attitude—self-inherited, self-absorbed, egotistical, and narcissistic. This is very detrimental to literary finesse. Mediocracy and mastery are incompatible, mutually exclusive. Before I start writing about a particular subject, I read a lot about it. I usually read multiple books at once. Now, not everyone can do this. But if you plan on adding the word “successful” to your name as an author, you need to start respecting the rules. Literary finesse comes to those who never gets tired of trying to reach the elusive plateau. I’m sure you can! —Dr. Ardain Isma, educator, author.
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