May 17 2006
The SB’s have a letter from Laura Kinsale up at her website. Somehow I doubt she will ever write a letter to us but I felt compelled to respond (don’t I always).
If you (and by you, I mean the universal you) are writing in a certain genre, particularly within the romance genre, aren’t you always thinking of the reader. I.e., why else put in the HEA? or conform to any the constraints the romance genre maintains? When an author writes for Harlequin and signs on to do a group project – are they writing for themselves or their readers?
When writers do connected series books writing about brothers, cousins, nephews, etc, aren’t those written with the reader in mind? When writers write stories about a certain character because readers were clamouring for that character’s story, isn’t it the reader that you are thinking of at that point?
Or maybe, like Robin said, I just don’t get Ms. Kinsale’s point. I have freely admitted to not being the most cerebral of readers. I’m the plain Jane.
I think that she is saying that she writes to please her own muse and that the story renders itself. There is magic in the writing as there is in the reading and because some books evoke the phenomena of full suspension of disbelief (in my case, Naomi Novik’s book) then all writing is art and not to be subjected to petty concerns such as cost, editing, or even authorial behavior.
No, I don’t think it is all about the reader. But I tend to think that books are more like cars than they are like Van Goghs. To some degree, books are interchangeable. There are several books out there that I feel could be written by the same person or several persons. Some books are homogeneous with no distinct voice. Some books are mere commodities and should be judged accordingly. And some books are art that rise above the masses and place themselves in the pantheon of classics where generations of readers will take them off the shelf and read them. Not every book deserves recognition as art. Some will always be part of the $1.00 bin.