15 June 2008

It was a dark and ugly novel....

And I'm writing it! ha. This whole process of having my manuscript read and critiqued by others is turning very interesting. Early on, Young Adult and Chick Lit were two of the genres my readers tended to associate with the book, which is not where I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be more adult and commercial, and I tried to focus on that with my revisions. Most of that came sheerly from changing the language/style of writing, but then I started adding and changing plot elements to achieve my goal.

Now, a few months down the road, I've gone from lighthearted Chick Lit to what one reader has said is something dark and ugly. Dark! Really! Some writers might be offended if they received a comment like that. And believe me, it crossed my mind to react that way haha. But ultimately, there are two things I've realized as a result that make me not offended, but extremely satisfied.

1. You just can't please everyone all the time. Not gonna happen, and I don't plan on trying. An opinion is an opinion, and I can do with it what I like. Ignore it. Worry about it. Use it to inspire me. Let it get me down in the dumps. It's up to me. So I'm learning from this one, but it's essentially going in the trash bin without me losing any sleep over it because of number......

2. Someone is having a hard time with my story, and that's a good thing! I knew before I started writing it that it might cause some knee-jerk reactions. I realize now that the way I wrote the story the first time was with the intention of soothing the reader into believing it was okay. Charming them into seeing how what they thought was a cut-and-dry ethical issue had more subtle grey areas. But why the hell did I want to do that? I don't know, but I know I don't want to do that anymore.

There are moral issues in this story, sure. But why should I sugarcoat it? I need to be bolder, more assertive as a writer. I need to make my reader uncomfortable and hope they'll stay with me long enough to see the happy ending through. If I'm going to change their minds about something, I want them to make the change freely, after some real hard thinking. Not after I've watered it down enough to make it easy to swallow. And the reader I really want is the one that will stick it out to the end, not throw a hissy fit and point fingers at my morality because I've made them too uncomfortable for their own good.

And while I'm on it - I'm either crazy, or some people are just really uptight, because I don't see why anyone would get quite so worked up over what I've written anyway. It is just a book, after all. Fiction.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're dead on here! It's so hard to please everyone, and we always try to do it. We need to write what WE want to write. Crits always cripple me, so I'm inspired by your post. :)


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