Posts Tagged ‘books’
I Don’t Give A Rat’s Ass About Twilight, and Why You Shouldn’t Either!
I belong to many writers’ groups on facebook. Too many groups, too many pages, and too many discussions. All of them are horror related and I have met many great friends through these virtual watering holes. Each group is different in its own way, but there are two constants I can always rely on. One is drama. Some groups have it only periodically and others seem to thrive on it. The other thing is Twilight. Or rather, fights about Twilight. I could go on for countless hours about the drama. Though I generally try to steer clear, I have been sucked in to online arguments on occasion. Even a few about Twilight. Today though, I would like to tell you why Twilight and its sparkling vampires doesn’t really bother me. And why they shouldn’t bother you either.
I doubt anyone would argue with me when I say that it has become quite trendy to hate Twilight. You can’t go anywhere on facebook without seeing several memes about how real vampires don’t sparkle and what other vampires think of Edward. Hang out in any writer’s forum for five minutes and there will be a fight about whether or not Stephanie Meyers should be burned at the stake. These are facts. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’ll wait…
Now I’m not saying that these people don’t genuinely dislike Twilight, nor am I saying they are wrong to dislike the books and/or movies. Opinion is never right or wrong. It’s subjective. We all have an opinion on most things, and don’t forget what dear old granddad always told you about opinions… My question is, why the hate? I’m sure there are a great many writers that you don’t care for, but you don’t dedicate the time and energy to creating memes about it. Or spending hours of your time arguing about their works. What is it about Twilight that people hate so much? When asked this question, most of the answers I get are “Meyer is a hack. She doesn’t deserve the attention!” “Vampires don’t sparkle, that’s stupid!” “She’s ruining horror!” and my favorite “Kids these days are being dumbed down by that garbage!” While I can’t argue anyone’s opinion about her writing skills or whether vampires should sparkle or not, I can say with some certainty that Ms. Meyer is not the one responsible for the short attention spans and lack of reading comprehension in today’s youth. You are currently partaking in part of the problem with that. Yep! I blame the internet. And other things, but that is another post.
None of the reasons I’m given by the serious haters strike me as genuine. They may think they are, but I will tell you right now why she gets the hate. She’s popular. She’s selling books. She’s making money. Push a hater hard enough, and they will almost always say, “I can write circles around her. I don’t know why she’s so famous with the crap she writes.” I’m not going to point out what this statement suggests. I think we all know. Nor am I saying that everyone who dislikes Twilight feels this way. Of course not. Many simply say that they don’t enjoy the series and leave it at that. I’m talking about the ones that scream the longest and the loudest. Methinks thou dost protest too much…
I ask you all this: What’s the big deal? Why do you even care? How has Meyer affected you? Because Twilight is everywhere? That’s true of all pop culture. Because you don’t like her writing? Don’t read it. There are a great many writers I don’t enjoy. I don’t buy their books. It works for me. Has she done anything to take away from you or harm your career? I seriously doubt it. One person’s success in the writing industry has little to no impact on another’s. The truth is, she has done nothing to you nor anything to deserve your vitriol. She wasn’t even writing the series for you. She has a targeted audience that loves her books. Who cares? It’s very unprofessional of authors to openly attack one another’s work. It makes you look jealous and juvenile. It also makes other authors not trust you and worse, you run the risk of alienating a whole group of potential fans (yes, I know many who read both Twilight and standard horror).
I will leave you with this, though it is up to you whether you spend all that time and energy on hating someone you don’t even know, wouldn’t you be better served by writing and making yourself successful? And the way the Twilight fans react to criticism? I want you hardcore horror fans to think about how pissed YOU get when those uppity, literary nerds trash Stephen King and say his writing is worthless to society. What you are doing is no better. So spend your time and energy wisely, try not to hate anyone, and leave those poor Twi-hards alone. They aren’t hurting anyone. Cheers!—C.W.
What the Hell is Steampunk Anyway?
When I was a kid, there were only genres. Sci-Fi, Fantasy, HORROR, well, I didn’t really care about the other genres. There were even horror sections in most major bookstores. It was easy to find the book I wanted. Sometimes I would have to slip over to the Sci-Fi section to find something almost horror that I hadn’t yet read, but mostly, life was good. Then the horror sections disappeared, seemingly overnight. My precious horror was now scattered (alpabetically by author) amongst all the other fiction books. Gasp! What used to take only minutes to find a suitable read, now become an impossible game of hide and seek, sometimes taking hours to find a single book. Sure, you could still find King and Koontz fairly easily, but what about new authors? Unless the cover virtually screamed horror, I would pass so many up, unaware of the unique gems that I was missing. WHY! I would scream (though only in my head, because screaming aloud in bookstores is not only frowned upon, they will kick you out). Why would you so complicate my literary life? Why? Let me tell you why, because people in their infinite quest to overcomplicate and overcompartmentalize (and in my opinion, just plain fuck up) systems that were otherwise working fine, decided that plain old genres just weren’t enough. We had to further break down the categories into sub-genres. We no longer read just horror my friends, we now read sub-genres such as Dark Fantasy, Extreme Horror, Splatterpunk, Slipstream, Weird Tales, Steampunk (what IS steampunk anyway!), Bizarro, Vampire, Zombie and many more. And to further complicate things, these sub-genres can be written in a myriad of styles such as Absurdist, Dark, Pulp, Minimalist, Realist and even Surrealist, just to name a few. Don’t even get me started on themes! Is it any real wonder that sometimes the horror gets lost in all this categorization? Anyone who has ever used a site like Duotrope to find a market for their stories, can tell you that it’s at least a half an hour of figuring what your story is before you can even figure out where to send it! Why?!! Is it really that important? Have we become such purists that we can only enjoy one very specific form of horror? I think not. When people find out that I’m a published writer, the first thing they always ask is “What do you write?” Well, I write short stories right now. “But what kind of stories do you write?” Ah! I got ya, I write horror stories. That’s it. No one has ever asked me if I write Gothic or Bizarro or the elusive Steampunk (I really don’t get this one). Horror is enough. I’m sure some of my stories would fit into most all of these sub-genres if I took the time to figure out where to place them. I don’t. They are horror, my first and only true story love. So please, read my stories. Enjoy them! But do not try to categorize me and squeeze me into some tiny box named NICHE. After all, I am claustrophobic, and tight places scare me to death…
Have a short story you want a market for? Check out http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx It’s a valuable resource for the beginning writer, if you can get used to the tiny boxes!