Monday, February 19, 2007
Crunchy Carpets wrote a post a couple of days ago about author Guy Gavriel Kay and said he talked about the fact fantasy writers don't have as much credibility as writers of other genres. I wonder why? I love fantasy, I always have. I've been an avid fan since childhood and if I could be a successful writer of any genre I'd pick fantasy. But there is that little part of me that not only wants to be a successful writer, but a critically acclaimed one as well. Can this be done as a fantasy author? Harry Potter has been a commercial success if not a critical one. I can understand that. Crunchy mentioned in the past how many elements of the story seemed to be blatantly taken from other books. I've read critical reviews that dislike the use of clichés in the books and feel the story isn't original. I get all that. But there have been critically acclaimed fantasy authors. I rarely hear a negative word spoken about Neil Gaiman or China Mieville though they aren't always my taste. I think ultimately if a book is entertaining and well written that should in itself lend credibility to the author. But apparently there is a bit of literary snobbery out there. I wonder what genre is considered to have literary merit? I think I can say with some certainty that romances are not given much standing despite their popularity. And does success somehow mean that the literary elite will now look down upon a book as if somehow monetary achievement has tainted it? I certainly hope not, though I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case. And if so, as an aspiring writer there is something a little disheartening about that. I would like to think I could write something entertaining that could have both critical and commercial success; though if I had to choose between the two... Well, I do have bills to pay. But I have also heard that once an author is pigeonholed into a genre it's really tough to break out. Doesn't it figure? You do what you have to do to get published by writing something commercial and then the publisher won't let you broaden your horizon's? What's an aspiring author to do? I know I know.. write what you love; and that's what I plan on doing. But will I be viewed as something less if I write fantasy? I hope not.