We’ve all heard it. Genre writers, in various forms or another.
“Why don’t you write something serious?”
“Why don’t you write a real book?”
“Fantasy (science-fiction, horror, romance…) isn’t real writing.”
Even with all the genre fiction being made into movies and TV out there, you still have people asking these questions. Recently, The Neverending Story, the movie popped into my head. No, I haven’t read the book. Why? Not because I don’t think it will be good, but the copies I’ve seen have this very light red and green print. I don’t know what’s with the Christmas motif and I don’t wear these glasses just for show.
The scene was when Bastion first enters the bookstore:
The old bookseller assumes Bastion is looking for the video arcade, as though to imply all children do nothing but play video games and none of them have any interest in books. Maybe if you actually encouraged kids to come in instead of telling them to go away, and you don’t like them, maybe more will pick up a book.
Now I recall why. I was watching something on YouTube about comics and how some people don’t consider them real art. Now, I’m not a big comic book reader myself. However, I will come to the defense of any comic book writer, artists or anyone involved in the process if anyone even implies that what they do isn’t art. Just like the gruff bookstore owner. When Bastion assures him he knows books, the man says in a nasty, dismissive tone, “Comic Books!”
I’d like to know what comic artists and writers think of this scene.
When I first saw this, I imagined what I’d say of this was real and I was there.
Him: “Comic books!”
Me: “What’s your point, you old fart?”
“First off, old man, I also wrote my first book at five. Was reading high school level by seven. There wasn’t a moment of my entire life when I didn’t have my head in a book — oh wait a minute — unless I was playing video games.”
And let’s not forget the bad rap video games still get!
“And yet, somehow, I did both killing no brain cells. I know you own a bookstore, but who are you to decide what’s art or not? You think comic artists and writers can just whip them up on a whim with no thought at all? It’s takes talent!”
There’s a movie I came upon, Authors Anonymous, while searching for — well — movies about authors. It’s not good, far from it, just a piece of fluff which barely touches on the business. There is one character that really annoyed the sh*t out of me — Henry. What I call a literary snob. In his words, “… he works two jobs, delivering pizza and cleaning carpets, good jobs for a writer because he meets lots of interesting people.” To him, if you haven’t read The Great Gatsby, and I haven’t, nor have I seen the movie or other literary masterpieces, you have no right to call yourself a writer, let alone get anything published. Although he hasn’t put pen to paper in weeks.
Another character, Hannah, has gotten an agent, who sold her romantic drama, followed by a movie deal, however she’s not much of a reader at all, let alone of the classics, and tells Henry she’s heard of them but has never actually read them, she just, writes from the heart. To her, the writing always comes first.
Just for clarification, I believe writers must partake of as much as they can in books. You read, you learn.
But back to the movie.
Hannah is seeing another author, whom Henry worships, and one night, while Henry is delivering pizza to the author’s home, there’s Hannah. Henry is upset, basically calls her a hypocrite and when Hannah says the famous writer is teaching her to be better at her craft, Henry basically calls her a liar and then lists off these classic books, asking Hannah if she’s read or even heard of them.
I found this YouTube video by author Erin J. Doyle, that touches on the scene:
In between all of this, Hannah is asking Henry questions about why he can’t accept her for who she is, which he ignores and continues to list more books, including Harry Potter, but we’re not getting into that, with a sarcastic tone.
In the end, Hannah says, “Well, at least I’m not delivering pizzas for a living. So you’ve read all these fancy novels. My book is being published. Is yours?”
What really burns me is that, as Ms. Doyle says in her video, “... a happy ending for the guy who judges women writers by what they read. Yay?” That’s right, the literary snob gets a happy ending. And Hannah is happy for him and calls him her favorite writer, even after he mercilessly tears into her.
I would have preferred if he’d learned a lesson, and gone to apologize to Hannah. Even when Henry went to see her at her big debut, not only did he not apologize, but she gave him a free signed book. OK, this is turning into a movie review.
But back to the subject. Everyone who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is a writer. And what you write shouldn’t matter one bit. As long as it comes from the heart, it matters.
Writer for yourself first, then for others.