Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

So, as a disclaimer, I do read Laurell K. Hamilton. I happen to like the Anita Blake series, although yes, I believe that the latest books have a bit too much sex for my taste. When I first started reading her stuff--sophomore year of high school, about 7 years ago, when my older sister found the first eight books in three omnibi for $2 at our library--I loved how she could mix the supernatural/preternatural stuff with vampires and lycanthropes, with her animating/necromancy work and the police cases. And mix up her personal life. I don't read romance, but this had a nice balance that although I was drawn by the vampires, I stayed for the cops and zombies.

Seeing as how I don't like romance, the last couple of books haven't been quite to my taste, but I find the tone, pace and style still good enough that I breeze through a book in a day or so.

Here's the thing. There's are others who dislike the current direction even more than I do, and they are more verbal and more vehement about it. After visiting her website's message board, LKH responded in her blog. I read that post (from last December), and then today find out that there was quite a bit of reaction to it, some likening her blog response to Anne Rice's rant on Amazon.

On livejournal, Jamie Hall lists who blogged about it. Hal Duncan's take on it (The Dufus Dollar on Notes from the Geek Show) is pretty good and nicely balanced. Although John Scalzi makes a good point too in response to Duncan. The thing is, saying "If you don't like it, don't buy it," makes sense. But LKH wasn't just saying that, Scalzi paraphrases.

Okay, I just reread it and here are the parts that are a little less than friendly in my opinion, all three saying basically the same thing (Scalzi's paraphrasing is a slight exaggeration):

"There are books that don't make you think that hard. Books that don't push you past that comfortable envelope of the mundane. If you want to be comforted, don't read my books. They aren't comfortable books. They are books that push my character and me to the edge and beyond of our comfort zones. If that's not want you want, then stop reading. Put my books away with other things that frighten and confuse or just piss you off."

"There are series out there that have many fewer characters. Go read them. There are series out there that it's obvious the writer sees the character only as a plot device, a means to an end. Go read those people, and you and that kind of writer can have a good, non threatening time. You can read about people that the writer could and does kill with little or no remorse."

"Go, and find someone who does speak to you. Someone who's characters are plot devices, so the books are neat, understandable, clinical, and utterly organized."

What I'm trying to get at is something J.A. Konrath mentions in a recent blog post. Although the post itself was about self-image and confidence, it seemed to apply. Unless your blog has an option to make it private, watch what you say. Especially when you're well-known, because people are going to see it. You may lose new readers, or just make yourself look bad. And the people you're really angry with aren't going to care. In the next post, she explains why she posted it, but most people are only going to see that post to negative readers. So it seems like the best response would have been short and sweet. If you don't like the books, don't read them, don't buy them, and for goodness sake, don't stand in line for hours just for the opportunity to say you hate them to her face. Because that's rude and writers have feelings, too.
I don't know if all that makes sense, my brain feels full to capacity, but check out the links and decide for yourself if you want.

And I fully inteded to type up a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the book I'm showing to my writing group, so our new member would know what's going on (we're at chapter 10 as of last Wednesday), but I'll just finish that later and email it to her tomorrow morning.

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