A New Kind of Writing for A New Kind of New World

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I didn’t mean to do it: invent a new kind of writing for a new kind of world. I spend six months in agony.

I wrestle my problem: How to write a novel and keep my important research without dumbing it down. People needed to know about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). And how GMOs and their rampant pesticide use impact actual lives and were poisoning a small isolated island. How a few greedy chemical companies were putting our fragile world, as we know it, at risk.

Proper ingredients were here—a fascinating tale that needed telling and blatant facts that needed exposure. Other novelist had done this; Upton Sinclair in The Jungle caused a major uproar from the American public as his novel exposed shocking conditions in the US meat packing industry in Chicago. So shocking that Congress soon passed the Pure Food and Drug Act.

But to change present conditions, people, lots of people have to read your work—sort of like, I imagined, writing an Academy Award movie. Along with most writers, I could never do that. All I could do was the best I could. But how? I pondered. I suffered.

Then at last lady luck dropped me happy thoughts: some people really did want to know the truth. They would appreciate my research. Hey, I thought, if I put endnotes in my novel (a strange idea) then folks who want to know could simply flip to the end to learn more, including where my information came from. Yet if the reader wanted to keep on with the story—which I made as fascinating as I could so they’d keep reading—then they could read the endnotes last, or not at all!

Problem solved: a new kind of writing for a new kind of new world, and a new kind of readers who want to both inform and enjoy themselves. Together, we can and are making a difference.


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