You know what I learned this week? That we all love to read. Shocking.
I found it interesting that many of us share the same favorite books (and in some cases, least favorites) because it’s another link to how much alike we all are, no matter what are backgrounds may be. We all relate to certain character and situations, and that’s the magical thing about literature- it gives us commonality.
What I began to realize though, is that I’ve become cynical about the business of literature. Let’s think about the genre thing: Ever since “Gone Girl” there has been a push to publish books that have “shocking” twists and turns. It seems that much of the audience is craving erratic storylines. Here’s my problem with this thought pattern. First off, it seems like writers pull a twist out of a hat and use it in the next chapter. There is no rhyme or reason as to how something happens, or why. Of course you didn’t see it coming: there were literally no clues to show this in previous chapters. What happened to foreshadowing? Are they not teaching that in schools anymore? I think the best literature leaves little tiny hints at what is to come, but does it so subtly it’s like great art: layer upon layer, a hint, a drop… You can’t just totally change the course of a plot line. Inconsistency is not the hallmark of good literature, or even an interesting read.
When I took a writing class last year, I presented part of my story. One of the criticism’s was that what happened next was predictable. When did predictable become bad? Sometimes things are just as they seem: doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting story. There seems to be a huge divide of taste: in one corner you have the people screaming “There’s no way that would happen in real life” vs the people who literally want the plot going left, right and sideways. Can you please both audiences? No. I don’t think so- but that ends up making publishing a nightmare. Publishers need to pick a lane: who is buying more books- realists or twisters?
Twisters are apparently winning this decade.
We are starting to see it with authors we like. They start out unique and original- that’s what draws up to them in the beginning. Then, their agent or publishers says “Ok- the hot market now is crazy people who are psychologically conning people. Give me fifty thousand words about some crazy guy next door who is a soccer coach by day, but also runs a ponzi scheme, then goes to his job as a chef, where he chooses a person to add a little bit of poison to their food every time they come into the restaurant, and oh, his kid has some incurable disease….because we need to make this character human…(if anyone writes this story I want credit when it’s published…)
But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because I am going to continue to read my book a week. I’m going to try out new authors and rediscover old favorites. I am going to work on my book in the style that I want to write it, and hope for the best. Books are still my best friend and lover, and I don’t see breaking up with them anytime in the future. There may even be a book podcast in the works….
You knew I would be working on a sequel…