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Warning: This is a rant

This is not really about business, or about the business, so if that's what you're reading for, this is your great big warning signpost: Stop Here. It is indirectly about writing, and, I think, professional attitude.
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lnhammer
Aug. 17th, 2004 08:24 am (UTC)
If you can take this attitude, it means that you're showing contempt for your readers.

Testify, sister!

Oh, and yes I use guilty pleasure. Most often for Laurel Hamilton's books, though not lately (they've stopped being a pleasure).

---L.
msagara
Aug. 17th, 2004 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, she was perhaps one of three authors for whom the column name was so very appropriate -- and lately, they've stopped being a pleasure for me as well :/.
lnhammer
Aug. 18th, 2004 08:09 am (UTC)
I haven't finished anything of hers since Obsidian Butterfly, and that was as much for trying to figure out her geography (my parents live in Santa Fe) as anything.

---L.
trektone
Aug. 17th, 2004 10:34 am (UTC)
Yes, I use the phrase "guilty pleasure" and do so in various contexts, with emphasis on one word or the other, depending. Rarely in a completely negative way, though.

The interaction with newbie author: dang, it would've been fun to be there!

As a reader/non-writer, I'm not sure I could tell about the "contempt" thing. How would a reader detect whether or not it was the writer's best, under the circumstances? I get that your beef was with the intent, but if the end product is satisfactory to the audience, what's the problem (asks the devil's advocate)?

Oh, and how do you know "Dust" didn't work for the intended audience? Was there a survey? Just curious.

msagara
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:44 pm (UTC)
As a reader/non-writer, I'm not sure I could tell about the "contempt" thing. How would a reader detect whether or not it was the writer's best, under the circumstances? I get that your beef was with the intent, but if the end product is satisfactory to the audience, what's the problem (asks the devil's advocate)?

There are two types of contempt for the audience books. The first is the book that despises readers of, say, Jordan. They try to write a novel that would appeal to Jordan readers just so they can slap them over the head with the ending, in which they negate everything they were saying. Although I can't imagine an editor saying "Don't tell your readers to go to Hell" I *can* imagine them saying "the payoff here is all wrong". Which is to say, there's some editorial/publishing filtering going on.

Oh, and how do you know "Dust" didn't work for the intended audience? Was there a survey? Just curious

Yes <g>. the survey would be on-line reviews, even amazon. I really didn't get any positive feedback on that story until way after it had been published. I was interested in that time period because I was interested in what happened between the end of the two seasons; the licensor's decision was that she was happy & spunky while in LA, and it was only when she got back that she went through her PTS. And, as it's their universe, this is their right, so I didn't argue that at all; it wasn't how I felt the character would have been emotionally grounded, and the story I wrote was darker than I think the general readers would have liked.
stakebait
Aug. 17th, 2004 02:55 pm (UTC)
*boggles* Who sets out to write a bad book? Gah, it's hard enough to write a good book. The idea of spending all of that time writing badly on purpose is mindblowing.

It'd be one thing to say "I wrote a book that was the best I could do, and I like it, but it got rejected so now I'm looking for a publisher with lower -- or at least different -- standards." Or even "I wrote a book which was the best I could do then, I can do better now but I can't improve *it* any further and I'd rather sell it than trunk it, so who might not mind so much?"

That's insulting to the editor, but it doesn't make me wonder if they've gone mad. Even if Luna were just as bad as they imply, don't they care what readers will think of them ever after?

Which isn't to say I've never toyed with the thought of writing a formula romance to dip my toe in the water. But that's because a) formula = training wheels or at least a railing to clutch and b) being in a genre that's not where I dream of making a career lowers the flub fear. I can always take a new psuedonym and start over. Those people don't know me. It doesn't mean I have contempt for the readers. I am the readers. That's why I know the formula.

I've read, at this point, about six ARCs from the Luna line. All have been competant and well written in terms of style. Only one I thought was really well built fantasy, but that one was damned good. Though so unresolved I can only assume it's the first in a series.

The other suffered from a dearth of real 3-D characters other than the prospective couple. And sometimes from some fairly Standard Fantasy Elements which would have been best off explained less or made less standard.

But on the whole, I was surprised and impressed by how seriously they're taking the fantastic aspects compared to the usual supernatural Deus Ex Machina romance. I'll definitely read more of them as they come my way.
irysangel
Aug. 17th, 2004 04:26 pm (UTC)
Perhaps they consider it an 'easy in'
Into an otherwise normally difficult market? Perhaps the perception is that because Harlequin is a romance publisher...

Luna = Romance
Romance = dumber audience
Dumber Audience = so easy to write anyone can do it
Therefore...

Luna = easy to get published?

It's obviously not true, but I can't help but think that people that haven't researched their markets, read the books, etc, will have this skewed concept. Heck, if the majority of writers can't be trusted to do a proper submission, they certainly won't be bothering to realize WHY this assumption is so wrong.

As for myself, all my stories are a blend of fantasy and romance (I like to think equal parts of both). I tried to do 'pure romance' and found that I loathed that book. I had to force myself to finish it, and even looking at it a year later for revision, I still hate it. It's obvious to me (and would be to readers) that my passion was not in the book. I can read crappy Elfquest fanfiction that I wrote 10 years ago and the passion was there, and the story was entertaining, if not grammatically wondrous.

That being said, will the half-baked novels even get to the next round? I doubt it.

Where am I going with this again?
pixelfish
Aug. 18th, 2004 01:20 pm (UTC)
Ran smack into that very attitude you describe here:

http://maisonneuve.org/blog/index.php?itemid=363

(It's not his assessment of PDK that annoys me, but his general attitude towards SF.)
oldmotherchaos
Aug. 19th, 2004 08:20 am (UTC)
Bleurgh. How horrible and patronising.

Nothing much more I can say that others haven't already said, with greater eloquence than I can muster this evening.
lunamoth42
Aug. 19th, 2004 08:34 am (UTC)
As someone else said, not much I can add that others haven't. I was actually pointed toward the Luna line, not to write something specifically for them, but the pointer-outer (yes, it's a word - it's MY word) was suggesting that a novel I have already written might be well received by them. Reading the guidelines and the synopses of those carried already gives me inspiration that they might indeed be interested. After all, not all of us are writing Tolkien or Conan the Barbarian. Some actually want to see *women* being the strong characters.

Wow, said more than I meant to. :-\
irian
Aug. 19th, 2004 10:10 am (UTC)
Uh-oh. Now that you mentioned Luna, I'm one of the skeptics about that line. The author lineup is impressive though, and I liked the summaries for the stories that have been published so far.

I wrote an entry in my LJ with my thoughts about this new line, and what I *hope* will happen and will not happen to the books published under this imprint here, if you're interested:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/irian/90456.html

Romance in fantasy I can stand. purple prose in fantasy, though, is a different matter. And the honest truth is that even the hardcore romance readers laugh at how extremely purple some passges in romance novels become.

Anyway, I'd like to friend you if that's OK with you.
msagara
Aug. 19th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
Anyway, I'd like to friend you if that's OK with you.

I'm happy to have you friend me -- as per in info page, I consider this a public page, and won't be offended if anyone else who is lurking adds me to their friends list <g>.

Uh-oh. Now that you mentioned Luna, I'm one of the skeptics about that line. The author lineup is impressive though, and I liked the summaries for the stories that have been published so far.

Just so we're clear: I don't have any investment in Luna other than my novels; I'm responsible for my content <wry g>. Each Luna novel so far has been very different in tone and feel. STAYING DEAD hasn't got a lot of romance in it, although there's relationship tension (it's also the first contemporary fantasy); there is no romance in my first Luna novel. There's much more prominent romance in the Zettel, which is also an Arthurian (and you might want to point out to someone in your thread that there's a difference between Sara Douglass and Sarah Zettel, since they don't seem to have noticed the difference). Judging them book by book is probably wiser.

Romance in fantasy I can stand. purple prose in fantasy, though, is a different matter. And the honest truth is that even the hardcore romance readers laugh at how extremely purple some passges in romance novels become.

I don't like bad writing in anything. Bad writing is often a matter of convention, but not always.
irian
Aug. 20th, 2004 02:34 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you mean that Sarah Zettel isn't as well-known as the person says she is?

I'll have to agree on the bad writing. Hehe.
msagara
Aug. 20th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you mean that Sarah Zettel isn't as well-known as the person says she is?

No, this was me reading when tired <rueful g>.
next_bold_move
Aug. 30th, 2004 08:40 am (UTC)
I have recently become an abuser of my library card. I think I have 30 items checked out, at the moment, and the last trip I checked out two books from the "New Arrivals" section. When I got them home, they turned out to be LUNA books. I've been wanting to try out the line, but I think it speaks well for the books that I didn't get them because they were LUNA; I checked them out because they caught my interest on their own merit. Once I finish "Quicksilver" I'll be on to "Silver's Edge" or "The Wizard's Ward."

Also, this may have been mentioned above, but Stephen King says something similar to this in "On Writing." That to write in a genre you don't love just becuase you think there's money in it is dishonest, and pointless, because your readers will sniff out your disdain and won't buy your book. That struck me as I was reading it today on the bus, and so I thought I would excavate this thread. :)
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