Today I got into a twitter conversation about how people, often indie writers, slate people who do well with their indie books. As an indie writer myself, that struck a chord because I’ve always had a problem with those who stomp all over Stephanie Meyer.
For me, I believe that as long as you write from the heart and you have fun with it, then nobody should stop you from writing. I’ve worked hard to perfect my own debut novel, and it’s been a long process. I’d kill to have a hard copy in my hands. Not a self published, Lulu printed copy, but a traditionally published copy I bought in a bookstore. I never sat down to write with that as a goal, but now I’ve polished it, I think the ultimate praise would be having a team of people appprove my story. As it happens, I’ve taken the self pub route, but that won’t stop me from send query letters to agents. If it’s ever picked up, massive wowsers. If not, it will always be my biggest achievement to date regardless.
So… going back to the conversation on twitter, my personal view is that while a lot of people might think Stephanie Meyer’s books are crap, I believe that even if that’s the case, it’s HER crap and she has every right to be proud of it. Nobody can hold it against her that she’s one of the world’s most successful writers, or that she was deemed good enough to be published. Good for her, I can only hope to find myself in the shoes she wore the day her agent signed her. Some day.
Anyway, following a thread posted by @Zoe_E_W I said as much. Zoe and I have never spoken until today but we share the same view, that Meyer’s books are cool. It doesn’t mean I liked everything about Twilight. For me, sparkly boy vampires aren’t really my cup of tea. But then, I was always Team Jacob from day one and I don’t like the idea of people watching me while I sleep. Especially if they weren’t invited into my house. Edward, that’s creepy. I think sparkly girl vampires, strangely, are perfectly acceptable, so when Zoe made me question why sparkly boy vampires aren’t, the only thing I could come up with was that it didn’t flow with everything else I knew about him. He’s a bad ass, rock solid dead guy. But why can’t he sparkle? I don’t know. If it were Alice I dont think I’d have batted an eye.
So, I concluded that it’s my sub conscience, not letting my brain accept the differences in other people’s ideas. Effectively, I’m closed minded. But not just closed minded full stop, because I realised if I can convince myself that its okay for a Cullen boy to sparkle, I’ve broadened my horizons a little and I’m willing to accept that challenge! I dont want to try to convince myself its okay for someone to creep into my room at night, for me that will never be okay, but maybe if I read Midnight Sun I’d get Edward’s perspective on that. Thanks Zoe for reminding me that there are two sides to every story.
Turning the tables, I’ve faced a similar kind of issue with my own story. Of four reviews (written by critiquers who also write themselves), two asked me who my target audience was. They both said the book screamed YA, but the inclusion of centaurs and sprites suggested that I’d gain more interest from children. The problem being, the prose and the themes being “contradictory” and better suited to adults. My answer to that was… who ever said centaurs and sprites were not allowed in YA or adult fiction? And who said a grown up wouldn’t pick it up based on the race of its characters?
The reason I wrote this book is because I couldn’t find anything like it on the bookshelf. There aren’t (IMO) enough unicorns in fiction. I’ve never yet found a black unicorn in fiction anywhere! Let alone one who’s a pariah, assigned to act as the sole guardian of a long lost princess, or who overcomes his perception of centaurs being the typically documented day-dreamers of the other world. And he thought sprites were cute, cuddly things. He even believes he’s dangerous, untrustworthy and a bit of a monster. He was wrong on all counts.
So, one of the main underlying themes of my book is not to be afraid of what you don’t understand, and not to be judgemental. To accept others for their differences. And yet, here I am objecting to the presence of sparkly boys with fangs.
At that point, Zoe told me she’d written a parody called “My Gay Sparkly Vampire Romance“. Ha! Kelly Brown, you go download that book, and teach yourself a thing or two about sparkly vampires. Practice what you preach and open your mind!
So, with the book downloaded, that’s exactly what I intend to do!
Zoe, thank you for a new lesson. I’m going to go read it right now.