Sunday, November 27, 2005

la vie boheme

for a while now i have had to answer the same question over and over again. "when will your next book come out?" i always want to give the sarcastic answer, "well, it took me 29.5 years to get the first one written and published, and i was unemployed at the time with nothing better to do. so just give it a few weeks and i'm sure i can whip something up."
but in all seriousness, i'm not sure what i want to write about. it was fun writing silly chick lit. but the truth is, i don't even like to read silly chick lit myself. i like substance, depth, and more mature subjects. (not to say i don't have a few guilty pleasures.) i know that i would like to write a book with more mainstream (aka non-mormon) appeal to it. the mormon market is way too confining, and there's a lot more money to be made elsewhere. i'm too liberal and racy for the mormon market and way too conservative for the mass market.
but it is the moral ambiuities in the competition that are killing me though. i can write a great romance, but if i don't make it about sex, the major magazines won't pick it up. but i'm not going to celebrate a lifestyle i don't respect. we need less media celebrating "la vie boheme" and trying to convince us that such lifestyles are normal and acceptable. the real challenge in life lies in writing something where the person makes the moral choice, lives with the consequences, and does the right thing, instead of justifying sin, and makes it a compelling story that the world would want to buy. but if sex sells, what else can you sell if you want to make it about something other than sex? is that the next great american literary challenge? all the great challenges in the past were to write free thinking, honest and true feelings, generally about sex.
we celebrated hemingway for being painfully honest in his descriptions of sanity and cheap sex. but is it possible to write the great american novel about not having sex? about choosing to live by the standards they were raised by? the painfully honest descriptions of living in a world where everyone else chooses to live a more "bohemian" lifestyle than your own? would anyone read that? we celebrate the books and movies about homosexuals who go against the grain, break out of the chains that bind them, and come out of the closet. would anyone celebrate a book or movie about a person who is tempted by others to leave the morals and teachings they were raised with, but chooses to stay? or it is only socially acceptable to celebrate and respect people who choose to do what was previously considered unacceptable? or have we finally reached the point where everything that was unacceptable is now acceptable, and therefore choosing tradition and standards is unacceptable? when will it become fashionable again to have tradition and standards?

1 comment:

  1. I think you'd have more freedom to write about such subjects in young adult lit than to a mass market, and you'd still get pretty good sales. Much better than the LDS niche market. Talk to me sometime about options, if that's a direction you'd be interested in (you know I'm a children's and young adult book editor, right?). I can give you pointers on where to start checking out that market.


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