Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Artsy Fartsy

First of course, is my update.  Hello, ROW crew.  Hope all of you are meeting your goals.  I have moved from contemplation to implementation here in Aeris land.  I've charted my edits for each of the characters and their story lines and decided what I will cut or add.  Basically, Zyander is going to get another two chapters.  One will be near the beginning to help aid in some foreshadowing and the other at the end will aid in some resolution.  I will also be rearranging a few of my chapters to aid in the timeline flow.  Nikka will also get another chapter at the end, because her ending was WAY too passive for my taste and if I admit it to myself, I was being lazy or maybe hurried when I wrote her ending.  One of her chapters will also be rearranged.  Luka is getting the least amount of editing.  I already did a lot of work on him before the beta reading, as I cut 2 chapters out of his story that didn't advance him in any way.  I'm going to add some better foreshadowing for him at the beginning as well.  I've written half of the summary of Compis for the beginning of the book.
It's tough, because I use a combination of planning (as in an overall outline) and just letting the spirit take me where it will.  The result of this is that the story often seems to get away from me and leaves me determined to plan better next time.  But for my writing style, if I'm too rigid in my planning, none of the cool/good stuff seems to happen.  It's only when I lose myself in the writing that the story seems to write itself without effort.  So I continue to tread this fine line and hope for the best.  I just hope everything isn't a hot mess at the end!  You know? :)

On my thoughts this week, writing as art...

It's a tricky subject that everyone seems to have an opinion on.  We live in a unique world, where amazon has introduced the most interesting concept of reviewing what we buy.  This has led to some... volatile interactions on the internet.  I don't think it's an accident that one of the most recent and hilarious skits of SNL is one that deals with internet comments.  HILARIOUS VIDEO HERE.  (Hulu won't let me imbed it, sorry.)

It's easy to eviscerate when you don't have to show your face, or when you can be anonymous.  There is a culture of people (commonly called trolls) on the internet who garner much amusement from this.

For writers, in the past, there was no exposure to this.  It was basically paper/magazine reviews, and word of mouth.  Goodreads, amazon, shelfari and others have given readers the power to praise or deride books and for many authors that is a bitter pill (or a spoonful of sugar) to swallow.
Rather than rehash what I've already discussed multiple times... I want to address a particular argument that I recently read(for the hundredth time) about writing as art.  I have seen this argument over and over again.  How can anyone critique art?  It's a travesty!  No one ever reviews paintings!  No one stands around saying, "Picasso's art is totally amateur.  He obviously had no idea what he was doing!  Cubism?  It's total crap."
Well, actually, there are plenty of people saying that.  My mom, for instance.  She's just not saying it on the internet.
But here is how I see it.  Art differs from literature in one KEY way.  You don't have to lay down a DIME to buy it unless you like it.  Art is all there, at the get-go.  What you see is what you get.  If you like waterlilies, Monet is the guy for you.  Go down to Target and buy yourself a $15 print.  (or fork out a few mill, if you've got that kind of cash)  If you like Degas and ballerinas, it's all there for you to see.  My point, and I do have one, is that there is no obligation to purchase before you know if you'll like it or not.  Have your opinion about Kandinsky, no one is telling you that you have to buy a wrapped painting by him and only open it AFTER you've paid.
Yet that is essentially what we ask readers to do every day.  Here is where you say, well, what about libraries and freebies?  I would argue that there is still the investment of time.  Even giving 5 minutes to try out a book when you have two children, a garden, a continuous mound of laundry and a budding writerly career is a BIG DEAL.
People aren't trying to buy art (or read it) when they pick up a book.  They are paying (or hoping for) an experience.  What experience do I look for?  I want to be diverted.  I want to enter a new and interesting world.  I want to read about love or hate, growth or decay, kick butt heroines, main characters that make me give a crap about them.  I don't want to deal with the crap I have to in the real world.  Now, that is just me.  Every person in the world, dealing with their different experiences, has different needs from the books they read.  And they can want "art" or more realistically, "artistic" books or they could want silly fluffiness that they don't have to think about.  
But books are experiences, and never something that can be taken at face value from a cover or a story blurb.  And even though their words may sting sometimes, we really just need to give readers a break.  They are not out to get us.
Happy Reading!


Anonymous said...

I'm sure it won't be a hot mess at the end. I think you've got a great point there. Books are more than a story, they're an experience. I never thought of it like that. Have a great week :)

Claudia Lefeve said...

Great post. While there are many that consider literature art (or what I write that is so not literature), I view it more as an art 'form'. There are different types of art and I like your comparison and agree wholeheartedly. Readers read books to experience something! Sure, one can say they 'lost themselves' looking at a piece of art, but it can't be more than a minute or two (unless you spent the BETTER be experiencing something!)

Nadja Notariani said...

That clip is hysterical.

Nice comparison between our expectations in art or in books. Because they are totally different, I wouldn't categorize books as art necessarily either. I'm with you... When I read fiction, I want to be transported. I want to thrill at a new romance or shiver with anticipation or threat of danger. I want to laugh with my heroine or rage with my hero. It's all about escape from the regular world while absorbed in the story on the page.
Sometimes I have to remember that other readers may have different expectations than I do...