Friday, April 15, 2011

The Writer from Hell

Where the promoters of independent writers could destroy the "Big Six" publishers, if they had half a brain to, is by exploiting the most fertile and active ground, those writers the Big Six willfully avoid. Namely, the so-called "Writer from Hell." All the well-groomed well-trained well-credentialed editors and agents, as reflected in books like Jeff Herman's directory, or on writer discussion forums, scorn and avoid the "Writer from Hell." This is why and how the Big Six can be beaten. Writing, after all, is an art. Those best at it won't be able to be placed into a conformist box.

Think of a cultural fair. As you approach the Literature section, you notice two tents. Outside one of them is a large sign which states in bold letters, "THE WRITER FROM HELL."

A barker tells you more. "Step up folks, right here, di-rect from the wilderness, crazed and unable to be tamed-- The Writer from Hell!" "Strong brew!" he warns confidentially. "Not for everyone. Be prepared to be outraged."

Next to this tent is another one with a more carefully painted sign, "Comforting Writers." You see underneath this in smaller letters, "Same-old same-old. Warm milk and weak tea. Just like grandmother used to make."

Which tent to go inside? I glance inside the weak tea tent. There are half-a-dozen people in the seats listening to a monotone presentation. The entire audience is sleeping.

The more I look around at what's out there among writers, in both the "literary" and "genre/popular" ends of the writing game, I realize how unique were the writers we gathered into the Underground Literary Alliance. Striking talents and personalities. They came from the print underground scene, which in the early part of last decade was still in its heyday.

A fellow traveler to what the ULA was doing, Frank Marcopolos, published many of the ULA's talents in his classic lit-zeen The Whirligig. He's now offering the best of that writing in a new ebook, which I hope to shortly be offering for sale at this site. Frank's collection contains the kind of writing you will simply not be able to read from the tepid mainstream-- including from one or two of those rare and mysterious creatures, The Writer from Hell. Stay tuned.

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