I just read another author’s blog post about writing in public. What’s up with that? Since when, to be a real writer, do you have to practice your art in front of everyone? I’ve always viewed people who purposefully write in public as pretentious and more in love with the idea of being a writer rather than actually writing.
I do my best work alone with a pot of coffee in the comfort of my own home. I don’t have time to dreamily hang out in a cafe or coffee shop just to show the world I’m actually writing. I can do without the distraction. I don’t know about all of you other writers out there, but when I’m writing I tune the rest of the world out and completely retreat into the world in which I’m writing.
Probably not a good idea for a 5’2″ woman to be alone in a coffee shop, lost in her own world when a thief comes along and snatches her handbag. No?
Now onto another point that I always hear when I hang out in writer’s groups for too long. “More people need to write literary fiction instead of all this genre crap!” Seriously? Earlier today I sat and listened to a rant by a woman who bitched about genre fiction as if it was the bane of all existence and how more people should be writing “literary” fiction. (ala Oprah Bookclub style)
I tried my hand at literary fiction in college. Even got it published in The Rose Thorn literary e-zine years later, and again in an Indian literary journal. It was a short fantasy story called The Elements of Warfare. I guess it got published because it was so relevant to our modern age of the war on terror. Oh – and did I mention it was fantasy? Yes, I did.
Anyway – it seems to me most literary fiction types are just snobs. They knock genre fiction because they’re jealous. Probably jealous because they can’t write their way out of a box. When people criticize their work they can use the excuse it’s because the rest of us uneducated derelicts just “don’t get it”. After all – we’re too busy spending millions on brain-candy vampire novels to know “good literature” when we see it.
I, and millions of readers, do know a good story when we see it. Good stories are about characters – not stroke of literary genius and metaphors up the wazoo. Some of the best literature falls in the category of genre fiction. Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even Beowulf — all fantasy. Frankenstein by today’s standards might even fall into horror or science fiction as well. Look at Edgar Allen Poe. Do I really need to say more? Oh – and on the subject of vampires I have one word. “Dracula“. I rest my case (or rant as it were).