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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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Date:July 6th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
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