Insecurity About Fluff (…oh, fine, and Twilight, if you must know)

This post really has very little to do with Twilight. I’m SO sick of talking/hearing about the books/movies. I beg of anyone reading this not to leave comments about it unless you are dang sure they’re pertinent to this post. I don’t want to hear defenses or slammings of its literary merit. I’ve heard them and I’m sick of them. Alright, nuff said.

This is about why, when someone starts to rave about how awful they  find the-series-that-must-not-be-named, I feel an urge to defend it. I usually do it hesitatingly and half-heartedly because I don’t want to get a reputation as a huge fan because so many people either want to hug a person who likes Twilight or wants to spit on them. I don’t want either reaction, sorry. My reason for defending it isn’t so much based off of the book itself, but what it symbolizes to me.

I guess I kinda see myself as the guardian angel of Young Adult novels, especially sci-fi/fantasy. It upsets me to hear people trash Twilight because in the echoes, I hear them trashing my novel.

Two stories:

1. Yesterday, I found a youtube channel where this guy is reading the book out loud to the camera and the entire video is about him making fun of it! I laughed, because it was funny, but I also cringed because it was so obvious he was incapable of seeing anything worthwhile in the book.

2. I don’t think I’ve ever been so afraid for my own writing as when an English major friend of mine wrote her senior literary analysis paper on the book. She used a type of criticism that allows the reader to pretend the author is dead and search the book for evidence that it’s sexist, racist, freudian, anything. She had been a light fan of the book before starting the paper and by the end of it, she had torn it to ribbons and lost any love she’d previously held for it. Let’s just say, a few days later, reading my short story out loud in the class we shared made me a little bit nervous!

When I hear my fellow college kids whose opinions I admire so much say, “I don’t know how it ever got published! It’s ruining our society! It’s so poorly written! It’s okay, but it’s just fluff”, I swear, I imagine them whispering it  at my book signings. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read plenty of YA books that I’ve wrinkled my nose at and said, “This isn’t written well” (Eragon, anyone?), but generally–especially at college, I tend to champion the merit of  any book I believe an English major or English teacher wouldn’t take seriously.

My battle against English teachers goes WAY back to 8th grade (hey, I only stopped being homeschooled in 6th grade, so 8th grade was pretty early on for me in regards to experience with teachers). I will save my anti-English teacher rant for a later post, but let’s just say that by the time I got to college, I’d been treated like every book I enjoyed reading was little more than fluff. I write the kind of stuff I like to read, so I knew that in their minds, that made my writing fluff. So I’ve been going around college with a Napoleon complex about the genres I write, paranoid that nobody will be impressed if I get published.

You see, Earth Mage is a book that on the surface, has no aspirations to be deep. Mostly, I want it to be fun and hopefully get the reader attached to the characters. It would tickle me pink for someone to really think hard about Jezel as a narrator and notice that I am very deliberate in how I portray her. For those of you who’ve read it, did you ever wonder why Jezel rarely talks about her Earth life? Ever wonder if she crushes on Kaedmon as much as he crushes on her, but she never mentions it? Jezel may be one of the most slippery characters ever to walk across a page, but I’ll bet she’ll even fool most readers into thinking she’s straightforward. 😀

Never talk to me about books as if they are “merely” fun or “escapist” or “entertainment”.  There is a wealth of value in Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and P.G. Wodehouse! Just because the tone of writing isn’t serious doesn’t mean an author shouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer. I think that sums it up.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth Donnelly
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 01:31:00

    Your attitude about the novel-that-must-not-be-named is refreshing, and basically sums up how I feel. I clicked over from WriteOnCon, where I read your query and just wanted to tell you it sounds like a terrific book! Hope it gets published so I can read it.


  2. missmystra
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 04:12:11

    Thanks for checking my blog out, Ruth! I don’t get much traffic here, so I really appreciate it!


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