Thursday Toss: Which literary wish would you choose?

The other day, I and a group (writers and non-writers) of friends and associates had a highly charged discussion about a simple question I posed to everyone:

If you were granted one wish by the literary fairy godmother to advance your writing career, which would you choose?
A) Be granted all the readers I wanted no matter how or what I wrote.
B) Be granted the talent to write a phenomenal book

The choice, along with the explanation as to why they chose it, was interesting to say the least.

One woman (a non-writer) chose option A and received a few raised brows. She backed up her choice by stating that she, “was about the money and readers brought in revenue.”

Another person counteracted her choice by pointing out, “you bring dirt in the house if you walk through it outside.” We weren’t quite sure where she was going with that analogy, but it kind of, sort of made sense at the time. Still the Option A woman, stood her ground and added, “Look at the Fifty Shades of Grey author.”

As you might imagine the intensity in the air rose a tad higher, after the “oohs and ahhhs,” followed by the pros and cons of the now notorious book.

After the dust settled, (somewhat) someone else (a dabbler in writing) chose, Option B stating that they rather be known for writing a good book than for garbage, even if only five people read it. “It’s about quality, not quantity.” They went on to say that if only five people read their book, those five would have something meaningful etched on their brain, and that would be okay with them.

Author Chinua Achebe’s book, “Things Fall Apart,” was their justification. The book started out with little following or readership after it was published, and is now required reading by many English professors.

That was the discussion more or less, with a lot of debating in between. (It would be a long blog if I retold it in its entirety.)

But I wanted to toss it out there on this rainy (where I am) Thursday. Any thoughts?

Oh, and be wary if your fairy godmother is the one from “Shrek 2.” Your wish may be subject to a little underhandedness. 😉

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Fifty Shades of Bewilderment

They’re locked away in their bedrooms. They have tucked it inside a decorative book cover. It’s hidden from prying eyes on a Kindle and Nook. Everyone is reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Everyone except me, perhaps.

Lately, the first question I get, (from those who know I’m a writer or someone who just found out) is, am I reading, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Nope. Sorry. But more power to you. Read on.

There are so many pros and cons about this book (which is great for the author) and the attempt to analyze its success and influence would be mind-boggling on so many levels. So I’m not going to try.

I won’t even comment on the article that spoke to calm the publishing industry’s uncertain future. I’ll let you read it. (That’s another topic entirely.)

Don’t get me wrong. The author found a niche, and she’s working it. Wouldn’t you? I have no problem with that. Not at all.

What I want to know is where the heck have the women who are latching onto the “Fifty Shades” like a life raft on the sinking Titanic, been? Women are going nuts over bondage and S&M. You’d think that “mommy porn” “women’s porn” or Erotica for that matter, was just invented.

Really.

At one point I thought it might be a generational thing. My coworker pointed out that there were young women satisfying their curiosities about S&M and bondage, or those wanting more experience so that they can spice up their sex lives. Point taken. But then I see older women gravitating toward it like a youth serum, and I start to wonder all over again.

Where have these women been? Or am I so unfazed or used to erotic books that “Fifty Shades” is like a preschooler’s first Dr. Seuss book? Perhaps. 🙂

There have been authors, good authors, who have been producing erotica, S&M, and bondage for years. Lora Leigh, who I consider one of the best erotic romance writers, can make whips and chains downright sexy.

Erotica and Erotic romance publishers (e-publishers at that), Allora’s Cave, Samhain and Loose Id have been producing these types of books for quite some time, with the help of some very talented authors. Maya Banks, (she can write about a threesome that will knock your socks off), Delilah Devlin, and Silvia Day aren’t just writing erotic romance—their books have a plot, which makes the sensuality climb the charts. Even the author Zane, who is known for her highly erotic tales, has been around long enough to give folks a refresher course in everything!

So what’s with all the hoopla? I don’t know. I haven’t voiced my opinion about “Fifty Shades …” before this. But walking into Target, yesterday, and seeing the books lined up on the shelf with the sign “New” flashed across the rack, did something to me.

So, I bought Nicholas Sparks’, “The Best of Me.” When I want well-written “mommy porn” (I hate that tag, by the way), I’ll seek my usual sources.

Hollywood: Lights! Camera! Your Novel!

With the literary successes of novels turned movies as of late,  “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Help” and yes, I daresay, even “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it’s evident that Hollywood is always on the lookout for what they can tout as the next best thing.

Which is why, it’s completely normal, and IMHO, highly recommended that we, as writers, dream of the day when a movie director/producer contacts us to say the studio wants to make our novel or WIP into a motion picture. 

We would squee with delight when they offered us a job as the film’s technical/script adviser, and gave us a say on who will play our characters.(Now that is dreaming!)

I admit. There are times when I’m writing that I pause to fantasize about who would play my characters. (I even made a trailer for my book. My very first. And it shows. 😉 That’s why I’m not sharing it just yet! )

My critiquing partner is very close to seeing his dreams fulfilled. He has an agent who is in the process of trying to sell his book, which is set in Burma 570 AD, to a major publisher. When we’re discussing marketing strategies for his book, we even go so far as to act as though we’re the casting directors, picking and choosing which actor or actress would do his work justice!

It’s fun to let your mind wander with the “what ifs” and not so much, “the why not me.” Writing is tough enough. Who needs to tack on negativity to an already taunting endeavor? We can’t let someone else’s success muddy our own ambitions. Positive thinking and a little fun in between chapters, scenes and lines is good for a writer’s soul and well-being.

So, what about you?

When that day comes …when Hollywood comes a knockin’ …will you be ready?  Do you know which actor or actress could pull off playing your hero and/or heroine? Or even better, your villian? Would they be a well-known actor or someone struggling to get into the business? Lots of choices, huh?

As for me, I think Antonio Banderas and Gabrielle Union would make a wonderful Marcus and Octavia, in my book.

Come on. It’s okay. Dream with me for a little while. Because, hey, you never know!