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  • Writer's pictureLiza Stirlinglass

Do you know who you are really reading?

I usually try to stay out of conflicts on social media and in public spaces. Having trained as a family and civil mediator I know how words can all too quickly get out of hand, whatever the intention behind them.

However, I had to seriously restrain myself yesterday, after I read through a post by an author with multiple books on KU. (Amazon Kindle unlimited pages).

The writer was boasting about how quickly he could create and deliver content, using an app. Several others joined in the conversation, many of them young male millennial writers, wanting to know how they could achieve this. To be sure, there seemed to be a significant financial incentive to use the app according to the stats and figures the writer was sharing. But I couldn't help be somewhat shocked and wonder about the ethics, the creative integrity and quality of an outcome, pre-determined by algorithms and auto generated text.

I took a breath, I felt sad and frustrated. The work this writer described proudly was a stark contrast to the biographical story I am currently typing up professionally for a colleague. Her genuine experience, words and insights bring her own historical experiences of a life lived in a very different type of world to life. I simply cannot believe that an app could create that intensity of feeling and evoke the type of cultural climate she grew up in.

Of course there is always room for newness and different ways of creating, and perhaps it is because I am from a generation who hasn't grown up with apps and algorithms that I find this way of working so uncomfortable to hear about. And I have heard rumblings from various people across generations who question why so many books appear to be the same, that genres are becoming narrower and they are noticing a lack of choice within those genres and, don't get me started on grammar!

When Frederick Forsyth wrote The Day of the Jackal in 35 days fifty years ago, on an old typewriter, the novel became a game changer for readers and a new thriller genre was born. One that has expanded and captivated many of us over the years.

I can't help but wonder whether we will be expanding or decreasing the creativity for writers during the next 50 years, if the young man using the app and his followers are leading the charge for change. I sincerely hope it's the former.

I'd love to know what you think - please drop me a line and let me know


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