Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everyone's A Lit Crit!!!

As a creative artist, there is a moment of sheer bliss and utter satisfaction when you reach the conclusion of your song, poem or piece of art. For a writer this is also true for our minds wander to the next adventure and we are eager to get started. Yet, for the reader there are mixed emotions. How many times have you arrived to the ending of a novel (especially a series) where you invested countless hours of reading and participating in the emotional journeys of the main characters? Finally, when the happy conclusion presents itself there is a yearning for more? You suddenly realize, in your heart, the story is not done. You want to know what happens next and it's so hard to let go of the fact that you may just never know. There is a form of heartbreak that occurs and emptiness. Does this all sound a bit dramatic? Yes? Well, that's because those who love fiction, as I do, want that fantasy. Fan fiction has become the solution for many readers as a way to fill this void. Because of fan fiction many a great writers are born. What else inspires the great (and some not-so-great) writings of many creatives other than the inspiring writings of other authors? Even those who are criticized for their lack of writing skills in regards to grammar, structure and creative process have found success (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James). Ms. James was able to capture her audience with captivating content rather than smooth word flow...a move which allowed her to boast 65 million copies of her books sold worldwide in 37 countries (surpassing the Harry Potter series). The sales outcome of this book is in direct opposition to what Goodreads Reviewer, Katrina Passick Lumsden's, describes as "[t]he only thing that made the first 4% of this book tolerable was the fact that I read it aloud to my younger brother, and his frequent commentary was amusingly distracting." Sorry Katrina....I believe over 65 million people disagreed with you. To add further, I"ll give you one guess where E..L. James acquired her inspiration to write these books? That's right...The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey started off as fan fiction but James soon found her characters taking on a life of their own. The Twilight Series books alone have sold over 100 million copies each and translated in over 39 languages (2010 Forbes statistics). Funny enough, one of the most respected and acclaimed authors, Stephen King, is quoted to say,
J.K. Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a dime. She's not very good." He says her secret is "writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up a kind of safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's exciting and it's thrilling and its not particularly threatening because they're not overtly sexual.(The Baltimore Sun)
My response to this is "So?" The fact is, in the marketing world this is what we call finding your "niche" market. Not every reader is going to like every kind of book, every kind of genre or every author that makes millions of dollars. People read fiction for enjoyment and believe it or not writers write (at least most do) for the exact same reason. So why not try? The way I see it, if you loved writing the book and you maintained the discipline and tenacity to finish it then kudos to you! Perhaps you will be the next James Patterson, Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowlings or Stephen King himself. Until then keep plugging away and write...write...write!

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