Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ringing in 2007

Ok - not really ringing it in. Actually just kind of waiting for things to pick up again. I hate waiting. I'm not what you'd call a patient person. At least not for the most part. I have my moments - which is really quite something to see - but overall, I'm the one pacing around in front of the microwave saying, Isn't it done yet?

Things are quiet tonight. Kids are in bed. DH is in bed. And I'm back on my side of the bed when I decide to call it a day. Yay! In general, all is quiet. School's back in session, so we're trying to readjust to the schedule again. I love vacations. No alarm clock (aside from my son, of course) and no rushing in the morning. I thought it was crazy when my daughter was in preschool, and that was only three mornings a week. How silly of me.

But the real reason I've jumped out here is from something I read on another blog. Smart Bitches/Trashy Novels is one of the funniest blogs to peek at and painfully honest about the books they review. I haven't gotten up the nerve to submit one of mine. My skin's pretty thick, but these chicks are brutal.

Tonight's entry referred back to Laurell K. Hamilton's blog. Now, I'll openly admit, I've never so much as peeked at one of her books. I think they have to do about vampires and she writes a series, but that's about as much as I know. I'm not so into the vampires, really. I read the original Dracula about 15 years ago and it was ok, but I didn't get all that much out of it. Frankenstein blows it away by far, but that's neither here nor there.

Anyhow, she was kvetching about negative readers, which are one of the following:
1. people who don't like her books and love to complain about how horrible they are.

2. people who used to read her books and can no longer stand them (for various reasons), and love to complain about how horrible they are.

3. people who've never read her books, but hear other people complain about how horrible they are, and love to complain about this same things themselves.

Like I said, I've never read anything by Ms Hamilton, and after reading her rant, I'm not so sure I ever will. Basically, she insulted everyone who doesn't like her books - whatever their reason might be. If you don't read and love her, you're an idiot. Plain and simple. No other writers are as adept at creating characters or creating complex plots. No other writers can possibly have the deep conflict and agonies as she creates. The rest of us are simply writing See Dick run, Run, Dick, run.


Just because someone doesn't like the story you've told, or the direction you've taken a particular character in doesn't necessarily mean the reader is at fault. It's incredibly presumptuous to take a reader to task because they dare not like the path your heroine is traveling. It isn't automatically the reader's lack of depth or stupidity. Maybe your heroine is exhibiting the TSTL syndrome - Too Stupid To Live. Or maybe she's turning into a bitch, or a weenie, or maybe she's finally falling flat because she's been put through so many trials and tribulations. I don't know, but I think it's pretty arrogant for a writer - any writer - to automatically assume it's because the reader just doesn't get it.

Maybe Ms Hamilton's books are that deep and complex. Maybe. But even if they are, she is hardly the only one with the skill or talent to make that so. There are plenty of other authors who are equally, if not better, skilled or talented. I never thought of my books as shallow and flat, and I highly doubt Ms Hamilton's ever even heard of me, much less read something of mine. If she wants to slap a label on it, she should knock herself out, but I'd wonder about the validity of her word in that case.

Also in this rant (which was quite literally painful to look at, as the text was turquoise against a black screen - though I've had complaints about my color scheme as well, so maybe I shouldn't kvetch myself), she rambles on about loving her characters so much, she wishes she could buy them presents. What? What is that? I've created characters that I've loved - I've talked about them to my family as if they were actually in our lives (instead of just mine). I miss them terribly when the final edits are done and their story is told. I'm working on a sequel to my first book and it's been nice to be reunited with these people again. However, I've never once, not even on my most burnt-out, my most frazzled day, have I ever wished I could buy them a present. I have never stood in front of a store window staring at that and thinking, 'Ash would love that watch!' (FYI - Ash is the hero of my first book). And do you know why?


He is real in the book. And he was real when I was capturing his strengths and weakness and all that on paper. But once the book closes, he's gone and real life returns. That blew my mind.

I really don't care if Ms Hamilton wants to insult her negative readers. That's her perogative. But she might want to stop and think how she comes across. I read that entry thinking Hmm... I don't know much about her or her books, but I'll take a look. It went from that to a wha...? in record time.

Now, I'll be honest, no one has ever come up to me and told me they hated my books. I can imagine I wouldn't be too happy about it and would probably to the where did I go wrong? How did I fail you, dear reader? And when I was alone, I'd probably weave a colorful tapestry of blue words, but that would be it. I wouldn't insult their intelligence (aside from the obvious - they'd have to be a fool not to love my little gem), and I certainly wouldn't be explaining it from the point of view that a reader didn't get it because I am so damn deep. Hardly. I love romance and I love romance novels. As long as they are well-written, I'm happy. I love to write. And I love when someone tells me they've enjoyed a book I wrote. But not everyone is going to sing praises and that's not necessarily a character flaw or lack of intelligence. Sometimes, someone just doesn't like what you've written. They're not stupid. You aren't a genius.

Sometimes, you write crap. It's that simple.

Now, even though I wonder about a person who wants to shop for people who don't exist, if I picked up one of her books and thought it looked interesting, I'd probably buy it. If I like it, great. If not? Well, that's what garage sales are for.

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