Friday, February 8, 2013

Continuation

There were a lot of wonderful comments on my post on Wednesday and I wanted to continue and discuss some of them.  First was the idea that reading our childhood books as adults and as writers will change the way we see them. 

Well, yes. And no.  We have changed, and since we've changed,the way we view everything has changed.  There are childhood books that we will view differently as writers and adults.  But if the book was well written (someone mentioned the Black Stallion series) Then it can withstand the test of time and we will still be transported to that happy place.  Regarding the author I mentioned, I wasn't disappointed because the book was different than the earlier ones, but because I could still go back to the early ones and see the craft, and skill it had taken to weave those stories.  I still loved them and read them.  Then with this new one she had done nothing more than vomit some words swirl them around then send it to the publisher.  The complete lack of craft or caring is what disappointed me.  More so because it was so different from her earlier works. 

The other point that was brought up is that every author must carry some worry that their next book will be a disappointment and is it right for us to expect that every book will be better than the last?  Should the author put pleasing her readers above all? 

In a word, NO!  I'm sorry if people thought that's what I was trying to say. I've read books where I felt the author was trying to throw in every situation the reader would dream of seeing and stringing them together with a very weak plot.  Those books that try to please everyone generally end up pleasing no one.  I believe that above all the writer must be true to the story.  Yes, there is pressure on the author to keep up quality, to create a platform, and write in a certain genre so as not to alienate readers. It can be very stressful. But really a writer needs to write the story that is screaming to get out.  And as long as the author is doing their best and writing what they believe they need to I can like or dislike their book without feeling disappointed.  It's when they don't try that there are problems.

Hm, is this a little like when our parents would say, "I don't care what you do, just do your best and we'll be happy"?


Those are my thoughts. What do you think?


18 comments:

  1. One of my all-time favorite novels is a book by a Contemporary Women's Fiction author whose subsequent novels (5) never quite hit the same pristine note that her debut did (for me.)

    The first was like a rocket between my eyes. It worked on so many levels and actually *was* a realistic story with excellent voice that managed to maintain microtension throughout. In short, it was a joy to read (and reread and reread.)

    Her second novel was the story of another major character in the first -- and I actually read that novel before her first release. I enjoyed the second very much, too.

    Her third I pushed myself through. It was just ... okay.

    Her fourth was vomity. That's all I can say about it. It really bit the big Mulroney.

    Her fifth was better. Not as good as the second and certainly nowhere near the league of her first. I read it all and enjoyed it more than the third.

    Her sixth I began to read with hope but abandoned, like the fourth. It wasn't as bad as the fourth, it just didn't have 'it.'

    So. If you're still with me after all that, I think what I'm trying to say in response to your two very thoughtful posts is that, maybe, every book has to be allowed to stand alone?

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    1. I do agree that most books should stand alone. I have authors that I've had similar experiences with. But sometimes there is such a streak of vomity that it does change our view of the author.

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  2. I agree, Sara. A writer needs to write their best story. It's okay to read reader comments and try to learn from them if there are problems with the story. But you have to realize you can't please everyone and trying to can result in a not as good story. Thanks for the follow up post.

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  3. Thanks for the clarification, Sara. When I read your post, I took it the way you described today. Every story is unique and has its own strengths. I have my favorite authors, but I don't always love each and every one of their books. However, the craft and the creativity are always present.

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  4. Well said, a good book shouldn't be pleasing to all by cluttering it...the author should write what they feel inspired to, not to be a people pleaser

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    1. Well said. The people pleaser books never do well.

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  5. You're right, Sara. We all need to write the story that wants to get out to the best of our ability.

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    1. Hopefully if the story wants to get out so much it will help us write.

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  6. The other side is when it comes time to introduce wonderful books to our children. I discovered so many when my boys were young. I was a child again. I don't write children's stories, but I want my reader to be as excited about the story as they were as children.

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  7. It's also hard when you get all excited by a series that friends you trust have recommended, and then find out that the story/writing just doesn't work for you...

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  8. Those are my thoughts, too, actually. Do your best! In all things.

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  9. If you're passionate about what you're writing then that will shine through and likely make a much better experience for the reader. Trying to recreate magic that happened once doesn't usually work, I think you just have to treat each story as an indvidual thing (even if it is part of a series) and go with what works best for that story.

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  10. What a fascinating subject... I hate it too when I'm reading and feel like the author is just throwing something in to appease readers. I've totally felt that! And it shows in the magic of the book. The author really needs to stay true to the world they've built and not to let anyone else tamper with it. GREAT post, Sara. :D

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  11. FYI, I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check out my post tomorrow (Monday) for the details!

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  12. I've read some disappointing followup books where the magic in the previous book(s) isn't there. I'd rather just wait for something better from an author.

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  13. I wonder if the new editor was part of the problem too. It sounds like neither cared about craft. :(

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  14. Definitely agree that the writer needs to be true to the story. I think that's the best thing you can do. :)

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