Apology NOT Accepted

There are a lot of stories out there.  There are the big hits that stick through the ages, like The Great Gatsby or Gone With the Wind.  But then there are also the ones at the bottom of the pyramid, the thousands upon thousands of books, novellas, short stories, and other such fiction that come and go without anyone noticing.

And, like books, there are many different types of authors.  There’s the one-hit wonder, who right off the bat writes a hit story and then never goes back (J.K. Rowling for example, though I’m sure she’ll write something more eventually).  Then there are the struggling authors, who work for years just to get one book on the shelves, and keep writing, but somehow never make it to the big time.  And then the author everyone’s heard of, simply because he or she has written so many books even they can’t remember the names of them all.  (I once heard an interview with one where he could not even recall the name of his most recent novel.)

But, through every genre and type of book, through every level of fame, even down to the lowliest books whose only publicity is just awful reviews, there is one thing that authors just never do:

Apologize.

You never hear an author go out on record and say, “I’m sorry for writing my novel.  It’s terrible, I know.  I’m recalling it, I won’t do it again, end of story.”  No.  It isn’t done.

And do you know why, in my opinion, it isn’t done?

Because the stories are not wrong.  If an author has a story in their head, they go out and they write it down and they get it published.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  The author knows that this is what they wanted to write.  It isn’t at all their fault when the book doesn’t sell, or when it gets bad reviews, or when entire hater websites are set up.

Sure, the public may not like the book.  But writers don’t write for the readers.  Well, yes, to a certain extent, it has to give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside when someone likes what you’ve written.  But the writers, deep down, are writing for the writers.  For themselves.  Because they want to see their story in print, because they, at least, know it’s good.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t apologize for anything.  After all, new editions fixing grammar or continuity mistakes is a form of apology, at least in my eyes.  But that’s because the author doesn’t intend those mistakes.  They get in the way of the narrative, anyway.

I’m saying that the concrete thing, the thing that deserves no apology, is that narrative.  The story, the plot, whatever you should choose to call it.  And especially your core.

So, dear readers, I’m guess what I’m trying to say is never be ashamed of what you’ve written.  When it comes down to it, really, who cares about the haters?

Other News:

Some of the Hunger Games fandom is reaching out to other fans about the recent famine in Somalia and other parts of Africa.  Hunger Is NOT A Game is a new initiative to provide food for starving families in refugee camps.  It’s really awesome that these people are connecting the series and the fandom to a real-life situation that we can all help with.  So check out the site!

Happy reading.

Advertisements

They’re EVERYWHERE!!!

The Vampire Revolution (as I have come to call it) has been on my mind lately.

I’ve posted once before about how Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight shattered the world’s expectations as to what vampires were.  I also noted that there were sparkles everywhere (heehee).  Needless to say, despite the haters, Twilight has gained an immense following (not to mention five movies).  Vampires are suddenly cool.  More than that, books about vampires are popular.  Any book at all.  If you write a vamp* story, odds are it will automatically be devoured by hordes of screaming fangirls.

Alas, this is wrong.

Ever since the release of Twilight, the vampire-book population has exploded.  Sure, there were a few before Stephenie Meyer, but as far as I can tell they were few and far between.  Nowadays, though, go to any bookstore and you will see entire shelves marked “Paranormal Romance.”  This is just fancy words for VAMPIRE BOOKS (well, a lot of them are vamp books- some have different supernatural creatures in them).

See what I mean?

So, what has been the outcome of the Vampire Revolution?  It has brought us such gems as the Sookie Stackhouse books (known to TV viewers as True Blood), House of Night, Blue Bloods, Vampire Academy, and many, many others.  Just check out this website, which is fully dedicated to the fruits of the Revolution.

But here’s the catch.  None of these books (except maybe Sookie Stackhouse, because of said TV show) have even come close to the immense, sweeping, global popularity of Twilight.  In my eyes, they are all just trying- and failing- to ride on Mrs. Meyer’s coattails.  This overwhelming number of vamp books just gets tiring after a while.  Books are for discovering new things, not for reading about reincarnations of the same myths over and over again.

That’s not to say that some of the these books aren’t good.  I’m sure they are.  But when you have an entire wave of them all at once, with their own shelf for Pete’s sake- that’s when I think the publishing companies could be doing something fresher.  Something with less competition.  Something that could make a name for itself, instead of just being grouped together with the rest of the Revolution.

I’m not bashing all the books.  In fact, I’m glad that these authors have found their niche.  This is their chance to get themselves out there.  But there is a point when that niche gets too large.  All these books at once, seemingly only because of the success of Twilight, causes me to seriously reconsider how good they might be.  I mean, I get it that people are looking for the next big vamp series, but let’s face it.

There won’t be a next Twilight.

Nothing is going to come close to the success that Twilight had.  That series filled the part of popular vampires, and nothing else is going to share that role.  One series.  That’s it.  The public is going to move on to the next thing.  So I’m sorry, any of you that like reading vamp books or even write them.  This doesn’t mean you won’t have success.  This doesn’t mean you’re reading the wrong thing.  If you like it, by all means keep reading.  But I’m not a fan of the Revolution, and I don’t think you’ll be the next big thing, the way Harry Potter or this saga was a big thing.

The public is fickle, and no one can really predict what it will love next.**  But the pattern has never been two of the same type of thing in a row.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m a werewolf person…

*Yes, I sometimes shorten the word to “vamp.”  It sprang from my dabbling in the House of Night series.  So, yes, I did participate in the Revolution.  But only a little.

**This point was first made in an episode of the Hunger Games Fireside Chat.  See the sidebar for the link to their site.  I can’t remember which episode.