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What a Writer Should be Thankful For: Widespread Education

Yeah, the public education may be crappy now, but the fact of the matter is it has helped to make education more widespread than what was available hundreds of years ago. The fact that it’s so easy to get educated if you halfway care about education has affected not only the writer, but the readers too. How?

Well, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. No one had time to read two hundred, three hundred years ago. They were too busy milking the cows, making dinner, making the soap, the cheese etc… Many didn’t see a value in education when there was all that work to be done, and so most of your writers and their readers were middle class and up because they had the time to read and write the stuff, not to mention they were more likely to be educated enough to write and read the novels in the first place.

Fast forward two to three hundred years and sure, say what you want about public school education (I have a lot to say, but now isn’t the time nor place), but the fact that education is no longer just for the elite of society has made a huge difference in who writes and who reads.

For one, writers don’t have to impress the educated upper class with fancy words and prose and the stuff in the novels I read for school that slow the story down for me. Writers are now free to write whatever they want, however they want, and a healthy dose of controversy is good for the novel. Anyone can write a novel nowadays, especially with the easy access to information (that’s for tomorrow). But the fact of the matter is, when writing novels, a writer really doesn’t have to shoot much higher than an eighth grade level to appeal to the masses whether writing adult fiction or YA, and much lower than that for middle grade. Reading novels is to unwind and while we writers still have to impress readers with style, a good story, and original execution, we don’t have to worry about showing people how smart we are by saying something in a whole paragraph with large words that need footnotes that could have been said in one or two sentences.

Also, now the readership doesn’t have to be upper class not only because people have more time to read the novels, but many more people have the ability to at least get through a novel because more emphasis is put on at least knowing how to read and write limitedly, at least a lot more than was put on it a few hundred years ago. It’s not perfect, but it’s there.

More people who read (mass readership) means more audiences who want to read and more topics to choose from that will appeal to all sorts of backgrounds.

So let’s give a toast to widespread education, more than public. It still needs work and there are still a lot of people who don’t know how to read, but enough for us writers to get our share of the pie.

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