A few weeks ago I saw a tweet that I haven’t been able to forget.
It was a few days before the new year and an author I follow had tweeted about being positive for 2018. Specifically, she mentioned not comparing yourself to other writers, writing what you want to write and other sentiments along those lines.
I actually replied to her tweet and commented about my own feelings for the new year. Like many authors, I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to others in the industry. Not the big wigs like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I understand gaining success like that takes (1) time, (2) talent, (3) hard work, (4) perfect timing and (5) the stars aligning just right.
That said, I never compare myself to such successful authors. However, lesser known authors with solid fan bases and high ratings who write stuff I read on Quizilla when I was in high school…yeah, sometimes I fall into the trap of comparison here.
Now, of course, this may make me sound like some sort of literary snob. The type of person who swoons over the classics and longs for “the better days” of literature, right?
Well, I’m not. Far from it, actually. I’m a big believer in reading what you want to, as well as writing what you want to write. No questions asked. However, I’ve read several books that have darn near perfect ratings on GoodReads and Amazon but offer me nothing as a reader (this is only my opinion after all). Usually, these books will do several things right. They’ll have instances of suspense that draw me in but, then quickly deflate me. Overall, the stories don’t develop well and I’m left wanting more.
Still, these authors have a solid following and are making bank (from an outsider’s perspective, at least).
And isn’t that what every author dreams of? Having a solid fan base? Living, if only in part, off their writing?
I’d say yes. But I’m slowly seeing a trend developing or maybe it was something that was always there, just made more prominent with the ease of publishing nowadays.
There are two types of writers:
Thos who write for the explosions and those who write for the journey.
The first type of writer loves writing the big dramatic scenes in their stories. They live for the chance to describe Jenny catching David cheating, the big blowout at prom, the hot kiss scene or the group fight. Everything else is just what they have to muddle through to get to these more dramatic scenes. Aspects of a novel like plot development or character progression take a back seat to the big explosions.
And you know what? Readers (some readers) love it. I mean, they eat it up. These books are the equivalent of cheesy reality television shows. Ninety percent of the viewers know the show is crap but it’s dramatic crap, so they’re down for it.
And truth be told, we all have our guilty pleasures. Including myself…
Readers aren’t expecting to be forever changed by these books. They’re not expecting to spend time analyzing the motifs of these books. I think they’re expecting a little entertainment that’s easy to digest and interesting enough they want to watch it unfold.
Then, we have the second group. Those who write for the journey. As you may have guessed, they’re the opposite of the first.
These writers are my tribe.
We care about plot, characterization, themes, and, just overall, the quality of our writing. We not only want to live off our writing (do what you love and you never work a day, right?) but we want to be known for our writing. It’s not enough to bring in the $$$. We want our name to have meaning behind it, to be associated with a high standard of writing.
Sadly, sometimes, our “success” won’t come until later in life, maybe even after we’re dead. And, sadly sometimes, we’re not going to get as much shine as the explosives. Let’s just be honest.
It’s like comparing Michael Bay and Spike Lee. They both have their purpose but, for the general audience, one is easier to take in than the other.
So, yeah, the tweet hasn’t left my mind several weeks into the new year but it’s given me a new appreciation for my efforts.
Because I don’t write for the explosions…
Question: What about you ,peeps? Do you agree with my breakdown or maybe I’m being too harsh? What sort of books do you like to read?
(Liked what you read? Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the first author highlight of 2018! Did I mention I guest blog on readsandreels, too? You can check out my latest post “7 Signs You’re In An Abusive Book Relationship” by following the link.
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