Rebecca Day

If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, do I have to leave my writing here?

Posted by rwday on October 3, 2007

9 day form rejection from Hardboiled Horror on “Hell.” No real surprise – it was a longshot, and a reprint at that. I’ll try to find some other reprint markets and shop it around, I guess.

I’m getting a surprising amount of writing done here in Vegas – I guess not being even slightly interested in gambling or nightclubs or shows helps with that. I’ve edited a couple of stories, did some writing on the plane and worked a while on worldbuilding and novel planning. Tonight, AH (after House) I’ll get back to the Ashes edits.

I started a rant on accuracy in fiction – historical, fantasy, SF – but it’s sort of morphing into my thoughts on whether writers have a duty to take their subjects seriously. I’m still formulating thoughts, but short answer? Yes, we do. What that means is going to vary by genre, but essentially I believe if you want your readers to take your work seriously, you’d damn well better do the same.

It’s also come home to me recently that not every writer wants the same thing from writing. Which means that my ‘taking seriously’ may not look much like what some other author’s ‘taking seriously’ does. But I think I’m right, so I sense that this rant may end up being pretty damn judgmental.

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3 Responses to “If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, do I have to leave my writing here?”

  1. Renee said

    Writers who take their genre seriously tend to be dismissed as stick-up-their-asses types by those who simply aren’t in it for the same reason. If the fantasy’s there, all’s well and good for them. The end.

    Both sides are subject to judgments. You can’t be completely free of them, unfortunately.

    My (partial) thoughts on historical accuracy…

    If readers don’t particularly care about historical accuracy (or, hell, plagiarism) and continue to post positive reviews or encouraging responses to stories that don’t show a respect for history (or someone else’s work), the trend will simply go on and on, ad infinitum. It’s just as much the readers’ fault as it is the authors’, and we’re back to the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.

  2. rwday said

    I agree – the reader has some responsibility too, and just as authors want different things, so do readers. And you know, I understand reading stupid fluff – just yesterday I finished a really stupid werewolf romance. I’d never give it positive reviews, but I bought it, read it sitting poolside in about 2 1/2 hours, will donate it to the swap book section of the library, and that was about what it was worth. I’m not invested in that book at all, or at best, my investment ended when I closed the book for the last time.

    What I don’t understand is how a writer can spend the time and energy that’s required to craft a novel and not be bothered by bad settings, inaccurate history, implausible fantasy/SF, and wooden characters. I mean, that’s your baby, and you don’t even care enough to make sure her clothes fit properly?? So while I understand your chicken-egg argument, the way I see it, the writer has more responsibility than the reader because the writer’s stake is longterm and permanent.

    In an ideal world, I’d add that the publisher has some responsibility to encourage quality and discourage crap, but we both know that for the vast majority of publishers out there, the only responsibility that matters is to the bottom line.

  3. Renee said

    I mean, that’s your baby, and you don’t even care enough to make sure her clothes fit properly??

    That’s an excellent way of putting things, actually, and I agree. Did you read Tracey’s post on Speak Its Name? It’s great.

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