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Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse


July 6th, 2009

CONvergence... Dude! @ 11:57 am


 
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From:skylarker
Date:July 6th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
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To ask why 'crappy' books become bestsellers is asking the wrong question. Ask rather why so many people like something that doesn't suit your own tastes.

Twilight obviously has something going for it that appeals to a lot of people. Not everyone appreciates that Romeo & Juliet 'love or death' gothic ideal of romance - but a lot of people (mostly teenage girls) do. Stephanie Meyer does a good job of speaking to that sensibility, if not to yours.
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From:lyda222
Date:July 6th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
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I've never actually read TWILIGHT, and I should have said that was the audience's suggestion, and you're right. The real question is why do some books hit a social nerve or whatever and take off. A book that I've always wondered about was/is "Da Vinci Code." I've written stuff not unlike what he's done in his early work, and so I wonder... what makes that book take off while mine didn't?

However it gets framed, it's an interesting question, IMHO.
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From:skylarker
Date:July 6th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
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There could be a whole panel discussion on that question alone - why some books have such a broad appeal.

From the best-sellers I've read I think one factor is that the writers are addressing the broader audience. They start with a sense of connection to a broad community. Their main characters, while individual in some ways, tend to have qualities that a lot of people will feel comfortable in identifying with.

Dan Brown deals with some arcane subject matter but his stories don't stray too far from conventional notions of how things happen in the real world. For what they are, they are pretty well grounded in the 'real world.' Harry Potter is magical, but the magic is treated as fun and silly even when other aspects of the story turn serious, and Rowling is very good at relating to the emotional issues of her characters. Stephanie Meyer, as noted, appeals to a certain widespread sensibility in her audience.

I don't think any of these writers are trying to appeal to everybody; but they do have a sense of commonality with a broad spectrum of people.

I don't know if it's necessarily desirable to try to appeal to a broad audience if one's own interests don't coincide with one. There's also something to be said for appealing to a narrower audience with specialized interests, like some of our best science fiction writers. (Charles Stross, John Scalzi) Not everyone gets it, but those who do feel very strongly about it.

Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse