Monday, August 18, 2008

Musings Among Valley Vineyards

Creativity and The Question of Audience
By Kelly Pollard

As an aspiring young adult novelist, I have been following the break out success of Stephenie Meyer since her Twilight series propelled her to an almost cult-like popularity with teen and adult readers. Though vampires and paranormal romance has never been something I've been interested in, I'm more interested in the workings of how a book or series rises about the hundreds of thousands of books pumped out by publishing companies this year.

Her final book, Breaking Dawn, was released earlier this month. Passionate fans gathered for midnight release parties across the country,with fans wearing costumes and t-shirts declaring their loyalty to Bella's two love interests. The books sold over 800,000 copies opening day....and then, backlash almost as fast as readers could plow through the 700 plus pages.

Being a struggling writer and living only on my husband's steady income, I vowed to wait for Breaking Dawn to be available at our library. Over fifty eager readers with the same idea as me managed to put in requests ahead of my own. After seeing the mysterious looking book on a display at the store for a reasonable hardcover rate, I buckled. I just couldn't help myself.

I just finished Meyer's 'last' book in the series yesterday. I admit to pure bafflement at some of her plot twists and how she wraps up the underlying vampire-werewolf-mortal conflict in the very end. But I had no idea how passionate some of Meyer's 'fans' have gotten on the internet, especially on the Amazon comment boards. I read an article by Publisher's Weekly highlighting the fierce movement of readers demanding their money back from Meyer's publisher Little, Brown claiming that the book was over-hyped, poorly edited and plotted and that the author was somehow rushed to pump out a book before she could decide the way the story should end.

As a writer, I totally sympathize with Ms. Meyer. She allows her fans inside her writing and home life on her website, she weaves together stories she is passionate about. Then a small group of fans comes together and tries to take it away from her. Though I won't claim the last book of her hit series was up to par with the other books, I will say that she had me turning the pages long into the midnight hours this past week. And isn't that why we buy books? And why I want to sell them too, without fear of backlash?

Kelly Pollard is a freelance writer and aspiring young adult novelist, actively searching for an agent for her first novel BLUSH about one teen's journey through a swirl of rumors posted on a social networking website about her. Kelly has written for local newspapers and parenting magazines and is the proud mother of two energetic sons.

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