The World Needs Your Novel, and Other Lies
(Another Dyspeptic Powellian Rant)
The catchphrase of the hideously-named NaNoWriMo, ‘the world needs your novel’ is one of the more egregiously fatuous mottoes of commodified literature. Let’s dismiss it at once. The world doesn’t need your novel. There are thousands of brilliant ones already, far too many for anyone to manage to read all of them. So why should we need more? Are you going to outdo Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy? At best, if you’re immensely talented, you’ll manage to say what the greats have been saying for millennia, in a new or newish way.
That brings me to a concomitant lie: that every writer (every human being) is special, and has something unique to contribute. It’s true that each of us is slightly different, but the similarities between us are far greater, and growing greater all the time in this era of groupthink and social media.