Not classic enough?

No, I did not finish editing the historical portions of my young adult novel. I made steady progress, though, so I’ll have to be happy with that.

I ran across the following entry on Romancing the Blog:

I gave a friend of mine a copy of my book the other day, thinking she might like it because she’d expressed interest in my latest title. She took it, but then said she’d probably never read it.

Her reason?

She only reads the classics. She’s trying to read “good” fiction, she told me. Of course, she added, she meant no offense, and I pretended none was taken. I also bit my tongue and didn’t tell her that Dickens was paid by the word, and considered a hack in his day, and that his own friends wouldn’t read his books. That Shakespeare’s friends laughed at him. That a good chunk of the “classics” authors were destitute because most people in their era turned their noses up at their work. It wasn’t until they died that they got interesting to mainstream readers. Read entire entry.

I would have snatched the book back and fast. Why bother giving it to someone who won’t appreciate or even read it.

Why would anyone think that they can learn only from the classics? I learn something from every book that I read, probably more so from contemporary writers. Perhaps one day, my favorite authors — who can write amazing words, with deep thinking and layered themes — will someday be considered classic writers.

A friend once told me he would only read fiction if he felt he could learn something from it. But he had the preconceived notion that he would only learn from historical fiction. He wouldn’t think of reading a romance and even my thrillers and especially horror were beneath him. He wouldn’t even pick up a Stephen King book. Having never read a word that King had written, my former friend judged King’s writing as not worthy of his time. Then when Stephen King was published in the New Yorker, he reluctantly read the piece and admitted it sounded just like the other fiction pieces he’d read there. Although, he admitted he rarely even reads the fiction in the New Yorker.

Fiction writers who are successful do their research, especially Stephen King.

I’m off to enjoy the sunshine with Harry. Happy Tuesday.


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