Monday, June 2, 2014
For example, in the picture above, a bank of clouds moved in to obscure some of the peaks in Glacier National Park. The clouds were full of rain, but they did not move past the mountaintops and kept away from where we were hiking. Yet they obscured the peaks that we had seen the day before.
Where did the peaks go? Of course they didn't really "disappear" but they were merely hidden by cloud cover. The height, breadth, and character of the peaks did not change during this time. Unless you climbed up the mountain and into the clouds (and risked getting wet) all you would be able to refer to would be photographs or memory until the weather changed.
In much the same way, books, once written, can be obscured by a multitude of factors. For example, some traditionally published books get a huge publicity and media push right before and just after they are launched. This can propel a book right up the sales charts, while other, equally well-written books get buried far beneath. Others have an initial burst of sales and then fade into obscurity for years on end until a topic becomes popular again or a movie is made from the book.
In the majority of these cases, the books are not changed or altered in any significant way...at least in regards to fiction. Yet depth and character of the book can remain unchanged or in many cases undiscovered.
A well-written, yet undiscovered book is perhaps the toughest thing to endure for many writers. Months, if not years, of research, work, and editing can be put into a book, but if its only fate is to stagnate on the bottom of the Amazon charts it causes a writer to spend more time reflecting instead of writing.
Reflection is not a bad thing, though. In the end it may benefit both future books and the author, and ultimately the reader. There is a potential that the time of reflection may turn into a hiatus and that can turn into permanent suspension of writing altogether...which is a true tragedy.