Friday, May 04, 2007

A Further Thought

Related to A Thought:

If writers worried more about creating stories that people will want to read, and editors will want to pay for, than about whether their particular self-identified group is adequately represented in the written world, perhaps they would have more luck selling their stories.

Perhaps if they spent their time writing their stories, and not writing long essays on what everyone else should do to increase those writers' profile in the world, their stories would be better and more salable.

Update: Well, it only took about two hours before I was called, in essence, a racist sexist capitalist running dog of the patriarchy. Because worrying about the demographics of the fucking slush pile is the most important thing in a fiction medium.

I've written and deleted several further responses here. But I think I'm done. People with agendas will misread to fit their blinders no matter what I might say. Pretend I'm some evil agent of the the hegemony, if that makes you feel better. Because feeling good about yourself is the only thing that matters, right?

4 comments:

A.R.Yngve said...

"If writers worried more about creating stories that people will want to read, and editors will want to pay for, than about whether their particular self-identified group is adequately represented in the written world, perhaps they would have more luck selling their stories."

I think you're mistaken on one crucial point. In fact, I find your reasoning dishonest.

The primary goal for most writers is not to please editors, or even readers (unless they are personally known by the writer, which is a different thing)... but to please oneself.

Art is an ego trip.

Writing begins not with "What does the editor want to read?" but with "What do I want to read?"

Your reasoning is fundamentally anticreative. Believe me, when writers don't write for their own pleasure -- when they are not having fun -- it shows.

Writing to please a "peer group" or to give "editors" or "readers" WHAT YOU THINK they want amounts to the same attitude.

When writers pick a "genre" it's mainly because they themselves WANT to write in that genre, not because "That's the kind of writing Editor X wants."

You are presenting a false choice: "Either be a servant to a group or ingratiate yourself with a peer group." ("You're free to choose -- grovel, or have no integrity.")

Yes, feeling good about myself as a writer DOES matter.

gabe chouinard said...

In comments at SF Diplomat you said:

Actually, my post wasn't a reaction to this particular hoo-hah; it was caused by a vituperative essay by the self-professed spokesperson for some other group entirely.

I think the misunderstanding would clear up quite a bit if you let everyone in on the cause of it. I for one am very curious....

David Bilek said...

It seems to me that if ones position is that women were unfairly left off the Hugo ballot this year, one should be able to point to examples of SF from women last year which are clearly better than the fiction by the male nominees that made the ballot.

And yet so far I haven't seen anyone point out a lot of undeservedly ignored SF by female authors. Weird, you'd almost think some people are more concerned with publicly displaying their orthodoxy than in providing evidence for their position.

Andrew Wheeler said...

A.R.: I don't think we're so far apart; you're still talking about caring more about the story than about who else is out there. I don't think I said anything about aiming a story at a particular market; I said the writer's job is to worry about the story, and not what else it will be in the slush pile with.

Gabe: There are so many that you could throw a dart at random and hit one. It doesn't matter which one I saw that particular moment. The specifics of any one person's whinings aren't my point. The fact that those demographic whinings are unhelpful is my point.

David: I nominated Jo Walton's Farthing, myself, and I like it better than some things that made it onto the ballot. But I also haven't seen the kind of alternative "women's Hugos" lists that I would have expected, given the screaming and gnashing of teeth.

Your suggestion as to the screamers' motivation seems right to me.

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