Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wisdom Squared

Gavin of Mechanical Hamster linked to an Oliver Postgate (1925-2008) May 2003 article that made me ponder, growl, snort, and shake my head all in about three minutes' time. By the end of the piece, I felt like an old fogey, just about 'up to here' with all these young whippersnappers who are ruining the bidness.

What's the problem? The sacrifice of the story for the sell. Or method over content. Or empty snazziness for a jolly good story. However you want to put it.

Even Anthony was grousing about this very subject (though on a usual...)

So how do I reconcile Deaver's "study the market" with Postgate's "be true to the story"?

In my own head, I can marry the two. It feels natural, much like the process of elimination. But am I fooling myself? is it merely justification? how do you meet commerical needs and still tell a good story? or do you?


Anthony said...

Well, I am Mr. Tangent. You should see me after a few drinks, where my mind wanders one way while my mouth wanders another.

I do not believe there is an easy answer to your questions. I believe in telling the best story one can tell, and that sometimes over engineering results in a complexity with a lost voice.

In other words, I know it when I see it. :-)

stu said...

The thing is, it will take what... 6 months to a year to finish a book to a publishable stage? Then maybe another 6 months to hit its slot in the publisher's timetable? You might be able to judge the market's desires in general terms (mostly in terms of what's an unacceptable approach to your story) but you're not going to be able to predict the whims of the readers very easily so far ahead.

Alex Moore said...

@mr. tangent: your rabbit holes -- more often than not -- lead to thought-provoking digressions that, paradoxically, lead back to & enhance the original discussion. the reference was, by no means, a dig (though, in re-reading the parathetical aside, it almost sounds that way).

Alex Moore said...

@stu: you are too right. so what was mr. deavers referring to? i suppose that paranormal romance has been building for several years, so it would be possible to track something like that. and you must admit, as soon as harry potter hit the market, a score of lookalikes popped up. but that's not the kind of writing i want to do... i suppose there must be some way to tweak one's work to fit the overall trend, if one chooses to.

(after all, did you witness how many romance authors started writing serial killer books once that became a trend? in a way, that is truly disturbing...)