Which would you prefer…

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Yesterday I read a little blog post from a great YA author, Melissa Luznicky Garrett, about whether you would prefer your writing to be “smart” or popular.   She posed the question : As a author, would you rather write a popular book that appeals to many and makes you rich and famous, if all that came with the jokes and criticism about bad writing (think Twilight)

or

Would you prefer to write something that is praised for being intelligent and thought provoking but only a few people will ever read it?

Honestly, it didn’t take me long to make my own decision. Money aside (because really, who doesn’t want/need money right?) I would take the popularity and criticism over the lack of an audience.

With a degree in Comparative Literature and Languages, I’ve done my fair share of reading those books that are praised but not read by many. I even enjoyed many of them, but as an author, I feel it’s more my job to entertain the masses. To give them an escape. That’s not to say I want my writing to be “bad”. I’d like a happy medium please. I want people to enjoy my stories and if they learn something or have an epiphany? Awesome, but I don’t really write for that reason. I write what I feel compelled to write. I write to entertain.

Do I think Stephanie Meyer is a fantastic writer? Not especially, but I still enjoyed her books and the movies. The writing may not be spectacular, but she was able to tap into people’s fantasies and allow them an escape. That takes a special kind of talent in itself, don’t you think? I certainly wouldn’t mind having that talent myself.
Now I just need to work on that whole handling criticism  thing.
How about you fine folks? Which would you prefer?
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8 responses »

  1. As a writer, I’m definitely in the camp that would rather appeal to the masses. Maybe that’s because I know I’ll never be a “literary” writer. I don’t try to be too smart-sounding, and that’s okay with me.

    It’s funny that Stephenie Meyer has become the litmus for “bad” writing. And really, her writing DID improve from Twilight to Breaking Dawn. She definitely did *something* right, considering I’ve read the series five times!

    I’m not ashamed to say I want the audience and the praise and the money, and if that comes with some people calling me out as a so-called bad writer, so be it.

    • I’d have to say she improved from Twilight to uhh the one right before Breaking Dawn..Eclipse? While I enjoyed the series, I always felt like Breaking Dawn was forced and kind of unnecessary 😛

      Also, thanks for giving me the topic! It’s thought provoking 🙂

  2. The books that have made the most impact on me are not very poplar. And although I don’t flatter myself that my writing is smart – I rather appeal to a small audiance.

    I am an introvert so in real life I like small groups to. My goal in sharing my writing is to touch just one person. Whether or not I ever get published – if I can accomplish that one goal I will feel successful.

    • Good deal Krista! Everyone’s going to feel differently and have different reasons for why they write, so if that’s what you’re striving for, then more power to ya! Best of luck!

      On a totally non-related note, one of my best friends is named Krista! I rarely see the name! 😀

  3. I’d go for popularity. I like literary books, but I’m not smart enough or talented enough to pull it off – besides, there’s always someone better, faster, or prettier out there. Writers really do go insane over all that stuff. In the end it just hurts your ability to write and be happy. You really just have to learn to accept who you are in life (and be proud of that). I think it’s the same for writing.

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