Thursday, August 19, 2010
Distopian Fiction -- Commercial or Literary?
The Read ...
When I think of futuristic distopian fiction, I think of commercial fiction ... like science fiction. Of course, there are literary writers who do crossovers like Margaret Atwood, but I don't think any one has done it like Suzanne Collins with her Hunger Games. Collins has "crossed-over" in a couple ways -- I know of several adult literary book groups who have included her on their reading lists.
For years (since 2008?), I think I glanced at her rankings on the New York Times best seller lists. She's been there for good reason -- magnificent writing that far surpasses her first series. [Gregor-something-or-other which I've picked up in the past and put back down.]
Just read this opening hook if you haven't already: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping." So much of the coming story is hinted at in the coming story in that one paragraph that I'm lost in amazement [ ... and envy?... ]
Took me a long time to buy the book, given my congenital cheapness, but I found a used copy of The Hunger Games ... and read it in two sittings, in spite of having episodes of True Blood sitting in the DVD player. She hooked me on the series when she got me sniveling in a couple spots -- no misty-eyed sadness here, but nose-blowing sniveling. I was lucky enough to find a used copy of the hardback of the sequel [Catching Fire], but I've ordered Mocking Jay, which hasn't been released yet.
How's that for faith in a series. Hope more adults cross-over and read her "kid's" books.
Media Stuff ...
A lot's being written about e-readers ... about buying books for them. I'm not opposed to them. In fact I plan to buy one when the technology allows me to buy books from any retailer I want. Hey, I've bought CDs that work in my CD player in Cardiff, Wales ... London, UK ... and Sogenfiord, Norway.
I think e-reader technology should allow you to do the same. When I buy a book, I want to own it ... not rent it. From what I've read, it seems that the purveyor of an e-book can yank it off your reader -- after you've paid good money for it -- when it gets upset with the original publisher or author.
Actually, my questions go farther. No one talks about the people who don't own computers and/or e-readers. Print stuff lays around used ... and cheap, if you look in the right places ... and doesn't need any technology [except electricity at night] to read. A poor kid can give up a couple chips-and-soft-drink and buy a book, if they're so inclined. End of expenditure. With the the corporate paradigm taking over so much of our economy/social contacts, I worry that the poor will be left even further behind. I call it the new serfdom.
Still trying to cross Renna's gossip about Mariah with a narrative short story. So far, it's telling ... tellling and more telling. I'm writing the short story to give away on my Half-Elven site ... aka adding content to the thing. Need to work fast on it because I have a critique session coming up. Words are coming out really slow ... and I've deleted maybe 20% of the ones I thought I was going to keep. Unfortunately, they were side-tracks or backstory ... and I still have huge amounts of backstory in the thing ... the first two pages.
Of course, I'm non-conformist enough to go against the fiction formulas and decrease my chances of major publishing. How non-conformist am I? Well, recently read an article on query advice that said you needed to format your query only in New Times Roman. I prefer Ariel. Nuf said.
Did come up with good advice from two writers on Twitter that all writers should heed: writers should write ... even if they think what they are writing isn't any good. I'm paraphrasing Yasmine Galenorn and Laurell K. Hamilton here but that's the gist of what they said.
Took off yesterday to do a day trip -- over Cameron Pass up to Laramie, Wyoming and down again. Was rewarded by mile after mile of beetle-kill spread across the mountain and road sides.