Sunday, November 8, 2009

Being Told What’s Good for Us

Nature morte aux raisins 1929--François Emile Barraud I’m not a horror writer ordinarily, but I’m going to type in a sentence now that will strike terror in the hearts of many of my female readers:

I went jeans shopping yesterday.

Yes, it’s a horrific experience. And it really shouldn’t be. But apparently blue jeans manufacturers go out of their way to make all of us feel like freaks when we’re trying on their garments.

I for one, though, was desperate. I am so done with hip huggers. Come on clothing manufacturers! It’s not fun having to hitch up one’s britches. Besides, these jeans don’t hug hips. If they did, then I may not have this complaint. But they don’t. They behave as though my hips are not even there.

I have this problem in other areas, too. The Hollywood producers and cinema franchises decide what I’ll watch. But I don’t want to watch gory movies, action movies, or movies with a distracting amount of profanity in them. Could I once watch a subtitled film in a real movie theater?

And television? If I had my way, it would run British police procedurals all day long. Instead, television honchos seem to think I want reality shows.

On to books. Too often, the media tells us what we should be reading (Dan Brown, anyone?) That’s not to say that I’m not planning on reading The Lost Symbol. The whole Freemason thing is very interesting to me. But I just object to the way it was pushed down my throat by the media.

This brings us to individual writers. Some of us have books that don’t easily fit into a standard genre or description. This could throw up a red flag at a publisher—how will it be marketed? What’s its hook?

Of course, that’s a problem I don’t have. I love reading traditional mysteries and that’s what I write. It’s fun for me to work inside the parameters of their standards and rules.

But I want to make sure that there is variety out there to read. That it’s not all stuff off an assembly line that will be easy to market and a clear blockbuster. I may not be interested in reading what a marketing department thinks should sell well.

What do you think? Are you writing a book that defies easy packaging? Do you plan to adapt your manuscript to fit commercial standards of length, subject matter, genre-labeling? Or are you a writing rebel?