The Peculiar and the New Year

Have you ever read a book with such good writing that you considered quitting writing yourself, because you’ll never be able to write like that? I’m talking about writing that is light and immediate without being simple. Writing that encourages you to turn the pages to see what happens next, only to turn back again to reconsider the words you just read.

Imagine that you read that book. You felt those feelings. Then you found out the book was written by a teenager. What would you think?

The Peculiar“Good for him,” a friend of mine said (of another teen in a similar situation). The LA Times said that this particular author “writes as if he didn’t just read classic books. His prose is so elegantly witty, it’s as if he absorbed them and is writing by osmosis.”

As for me, I’m genuinely happy for Stefan Bachmann, teen-in-point and author of The Peculiar. What reader isn’t happy to find a new favorite writer? I’m also prickling under my skin a little with healthy proportions of envy, rivalry, determination and desperation. Even if I never manage to write quite like Bachmann, I’ll write well enough to earn my own accolades from the LA Times. Or from somewhere. I hope.

Which leads me to my writing New Year’s Resolutions, which are simple: Write more. Finish more. Submit more.

So far this year, I’ve written a fair amount. I finished two short writing projects. And I’ll be submitting them once they’ve stewed a bit and passed the taste test.

Great books like The Peculiar keep me motivated. It’s going to be a good year.


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