Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bellybuttons are like opinions

I read it somewhere last week. Bellybuttons are like opinions, everybody has one which is fine until you discover that people are writing reviews of your books and you don't like them. At first I thought, gosh, somebody has read it and as Abraham Lincoln said, 'you can please some of the people some of the time and the rest of the people the rest of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time'. It's wise to remember this before worrying about the reviews where somebody didn't like your book.
All right, so you sweated blood and guts and spit and whatever over it but after all, it is only a novel.
You've heard 'This novel changes lives' well, believe me, I don't think any novel ever changed anybody's life. It might have made them feel uncomfortable or ecstatic for a couple of hours but lifechanging, I don't think so. People read for pleasure. If they don't then dear me, what are they doing it for?

Which is not to say that I was happy to hear that one of my books was deemed to be 'predictable', at least parts of it. Ouch. 
'A good beach read.'    It wasn't intelligent then?
'Has a happy ending'    It ain't literary folks
'I wanted to bang their heads together.' ( hero and heroine and after all they went through and I went through with them. Oh dear)

Actually I am not grumbling, I am really bragging because I never thought I'd get so far that people cared enough to say what they thought about any book I had written. I love writing. After my kid it's the most important thing in my life and it pays the bills which is great, something has to and there's only me around.
Lots of novelists are thought worse of because they appear to be writing the same book over and over. We do. We don't get it right so we have another shot at it. Not necessarily a better shot just a different one.

Iris Murdoch said  'Every novel is the traincrash of a good idea.' Actually she didn't say that, she said something slightly better than that, I just like the word  'traincrash' but it means the same.  You finish it and then think it's okay and then you decide it isn't and then you have another idea and you think, if I could just have one more go at this I might get it right so in a way I hope I never do get it right and I hope readers keep on caring about whether it's a decent beach read because I really care that somebody bothered to to buy it or borrow it, took it with them, sat down on their holiday and read my book by the pool or under an umbrella and then they wrote a review about it. God love them every one. ( And that's close to something Tiny Tim said and he knew about these things.)

1 comment:

  1. Like the traincrash reference, Liz. All writers are very brave to put their work out there - head above th eparapet indeed. Looking forward to reading this one Liz. Congratulations on the publication by Quercus. Great achivement. Well done you. Wxx