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Which do you prefer?
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leprrkan



Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 5089
Location: In the home stretch...
Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

For those of you who are writers, would you rather write works that will be "of great importance", or works that people will enjoy? I know the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but I was wondering, if given the choice would you prefer to be like James Joyce or James Patterson (yes, i know we all hate him, just go with me for the sake of example Very Happy ).

As readers what do you guys prefer? Books that reveal some great Truth and are a pain in the ass to read (e.g. IMO Moby Dick) or books that are a pleasure but may or may not speak to some greater human condition (e.g. The DaVinci Code)?

Do you think writers can do both, and, if so, can they do it effectively or do they get written off as "fluff"?
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Post Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:02 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Sephonae



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 5218
Location: New York
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I prefer that folk enjoy my writing. In whimsy there can be wisdom so I'll leave it to the readers to find it or not. The AG's work is a classic example; during the revisit of Practical Demonkeeping I re-realized how many pearls lay within. Maybe he made a conscious effort to put them there, or maybe they simply evolved naturally from the narrative. Who cares, right? They're there, I enjoyed them, and at least one made me stop to consider my life and correct my trajectory.

Besides, it is my strong belief that laughter and joy are among the most important things in life--humor is healing, damn it. Books ain't gotta be "heavy" to be important.

As for critics who would write off humorous writing, well, I feel sorry for them because they have eyes and do not see, they've hearts and do not feel. So, basically, fuck 'em. Laughing

Edited to add: and even if the so-called "fluff" is not humorous writing, I think it has its own place and importance as well. Just getting away from the trials of the world by swimming in fantasy, or sci-fi, or romance novels, or what-have-you, is as necessary a respite as sleep. "To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn..."
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Post Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:13 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
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Lots of books are both...

I think the trick is to read a lot of really good stuff & then just write what you enjoy-
maybe the greatness will rub off on you & either way, it can't hurt... Wink

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:26 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
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I'm writing for me, but it would be swell if people enjoyed it. It's hard for me to read something "important" and not think, damn, Is should be doing that instead, but I can't live in that headspace long enough (I think AG said that somewhere along the line) to put it together. Also, I think if you try to be important, it works about as well as trying to be funny.

I'm a goofball, so my writing is goofballesque.

B

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:59 am   View user's profile Send private message
Vahlee



Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 3675
Location: Not-so-back to school
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I like a good mixture. I'll read Alexander Dumas one day and Janet Evanovich(it's a horrible guilty pleasure) the next. It's good to have a variety. I honestly can't say that I prefer one over the other.
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:02 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
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I would love to write both something of great importance and something that people enjoy, but I'm not major scholar (I get confused reading the news), so my chances of stringing together some awesome symbolism are pretty slim. To be honest, I don't think I get to decide what I write, it just sort of happens - it entertains me, so I keep doing it.
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:12 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
J.B.Chamberlin



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 52
Re: Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

leprrkan wrote:
For those of you who are writers, would you rather write works that will be "of great importance", or works that people will enjoy? I know the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but I was wondering, if given the choice would you prefer to be like James Joyce or James Patterson (yes, i know we all hate him, just go with me for the sake of example Very Happy ).

As readers what do you guys prefer? Books that reveal some great Truth and are a pain in the ass to read (e.g. IMO Moby Dick) or books that are a pleasure but may or may not speak to some greater human condition (e.g. The DaVinci Code)?

Do you think writers can do both, and, if so, can they do it effectively or do they get written off as "fluff"?


I'm going to give you what I think is going to be a very unpopular answer. As a reader, I want to read something that's just fun. Something that's going to keep me engaged. That's it.

As a writer, I would want to write something that others would enjoy and that would make me some money. I'm not one of those people who "would write for the sake of writing...blah blah.. I have all this angst to spew out into the world." I'm not that self centered.

--JBC

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:23 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
Re: Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

J.B.Chamberlin wrote:
I'm not one of those people who "would write for the sake of writing...blah blah.. I have all this angst to spew out into the world." I'm not that self centered.

--JBC


I think that's a little sweeping. Some people have the urge to write (like myself) but it doesn't mean we are being self-centered and spewing out into the world.

We're like you in that regard - we post here.
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:21 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
J.B.Chamberlin



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 52
Re: Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

FattyFattyPorkFace wrote:
J.B.Chamberlin wrote:
I'm not one of those people who "would write for the sake of writing...blah blah.. I have all this angst to spew out into the world." I'm not that self centered.

--JBC


I think that's a little sweeping. Some people have the urge to write (like myself) but it doesn't mean we are being self-centered and spewing out into the world.

We're like you in that regard - we post here.


Oh you know what I'm talking about. There are those people out there, some refer to them as posers who feel like that have so many important things to say... their thoughts are unique, the world makes them angry and no one can possibly feel the way they have. These are the same people who wear a lot of black and try so hard to look the part. They'll sip on their $6.00 coffee and tap away on a laptop in Starbucks....

Damn it. I've been bamboozled! I'm going on a rant just like these self absorbed aholes I'm talking about. Shit!

--JBC

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:37 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
Re: Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

J.B.Chamberlin wrote:

Oh you know what I'm talking about. There are those people out there, some refer to them as posers who feel like that have so many important things to say... their thoughts are unique, the world makes them angry and no one can possibly feel the way they have. These are the same people who wear a lot of black and try so hard to look the part. They'll sip on their $6.00 coffee and tap away on a laptop in Starbucks....

Damn it. I've been bamboozled! I'm going on a rant just like these self absorbed aholes I'm talking about. Shit!

--JBC


Ah yes, the "look at me writing" crowd. Being seen writing is the in thing.
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Watching The Wheels



Joined: 22 Dec 2007
Posts: 3412
Location: DC
Re: Which do you prefer?  Reply with quote  

I'm not sure which type of book I'd rather write. But if there ever comes a time I can look back at all my novels and say, "well, at least all of you guys were New York Times bestsellers," I'd be pretty satisfied.


J.B.Chamberlin wrote:
FattyFattyPorkFace wrote:
J.B.Chamberlin wrote:
I'm not one of those people who "would write for the sake of writing...blah blah.. I have all this angst to spew out into the world." I'm not that self centered.

--JBC


I think that's a little sweeping. Some people have the urge to write (like myself) but it doesn't mean we are being self-centered and spewing out into the world.

We're like you in that regard - we post here.


Oh you know what I'm talking about. There are those people out there, some refer to them as posers who feel like that have so many important things to say... their thoughts are unique, the world makes them angry and no one can possibly feel the way they have. These are the same people who wear a lot of black and try so hard to look the part. They'll sip on their $6.00 coffee and tap away on a laptop in Starbucks....

Damn it. I've been bamboozled! I'm going on a rant just like these self absorbed aholes I'm talking about. Shit!

--JBC

It's not my fault everyone's trying to copy me!
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:15 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
DoctorBollocks



Joined: 19 Jul 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Tennessee
 Reply with quote  

Well it;d be nice to be remembered years from now but I guess both serve a purpose. I mean some books never severed a literary purpose but would become soemthing else enitrly, like the short story Who Goes There became The Thing which is considered one of the greater Sci-fi horror films.

I don't think anyone really plans on being picked up as great, I mean look at Melville..or Kurt Vonnegut though..i guess Ayn Rand could be the exception to that.
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Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:26 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
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Far better to sit at the laundrymat, pen in hand, notebook in lap, occasionally watching the socks dance with the shirts in the dryer than to start a conversation with some guy that thinks you're hitting on him until you get rescued by a friend that shows up just in time...


Wait, what were we talking about? Confused

Post Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:36 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
J.B.Chamberlin



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 52
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zendao42 wrote:
Far better to sit at the laundrymat, pen in hand, notebook in lap, occasionally watching the socks dance with the shirts in the dryer than to start a conversation with some guy that thinks you're hitting on him until you get rescued by a friend that shows up just in time...


Wait, what were we talking about? Confused


I actually do some of my best writing on the shitter. Maybe it's symbolic of crap in, crap out. Seriously, if I ever get published that's the picture I want on the back of my book.

--JBC

Post Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:02 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Poofiemus



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 91
Location: Education Camp--I mean, college.
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Quote:
Oh you know what I'm talking about. There are those people out there, some refer to them as posers who feel like that have so many important things to say... their thoughts are unique, the world makes them angry and no one can possibly feel the way they have. These are the same people who wear a lot of black and try so hard to look the part. They'll sip on their $6.00 coffee and tap away on a laptop in Starbucks....


The Indigo Children. They all think they're insanely unique just because their parents said so entirely too often when they were kids, and now think that they're emo goths just because their teachers made them write reports on Robert Cecil and they listen to Amy Lee. And, unfortunately, at least one of those laptops happened to produce a steaming POS "story" about both Robert Cecil AND Amy Lee. (/end tangent)

As per the original question, I write purely to get these chronic plotbunnies to stop eating my brains, but I'd say I'd rather be entertaining if I could only pick one or the other. I've been stuffed with entirely too much "great" literature to want to be important. If my options were to be shelved with Melville or with Anne McCaffery and the AG, I'd take the latter, thanks.

(Not to say all important literature sucks; I love Dostoevsky. But a lot of those "great" books really need to be swapped out in school cirricula.)[/quote]
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