Sat 31 Aug 2013
One of the present trends is to scoff at books that don’t portray people, places, things or eras “realistically.” I get those reviews for my historicals all the time – “this isn’t how things went during the Regency” or “this behavior would never have been tolerated during the Regency.” That really disturbs my ducks.
Whether it’s Regency England, the American West, Highland Scotland, Myrtle Beach, SC – or some imaginary modern day town (coming soon, perhaps) – I DON’T WANT TO PORTRAY IT REALISTICALLY. You know what? Reality really sucks.
If readers were overjoyed with their reality, they’d have no reason to ever pick up a book. If television viewers were tickled twitless with their lives and their worlds, TV would no longer exist. YouTube would go away and there would be no gaming industry because people would have every bit of the fun and danger they could ever want in their everyday lives. In the real world, people aren’t going to balls every night, surgeons find their jobs more tedious than titillating and people don’t get paid to travel to exotic locales to spy or kill people. All of that – every last bit of it – is not realistic. Yet people spend beaucoup bucks on books, movies, and games and then they spend hours reading, watching or playing.
Why? Why do that if what they are seeking in their entertainment is a “realistic” experience? Do people have so much money that we need to toss it away for something we’ll despise experiencing?
We – unfortunately – presently live in a world where too many talented, hardworking people are unemployed or underemployed. Simply to survive, to hold on a little longer, more people have to lower themselves and destroy their souls daily by taking welfare and food stamps from the government. People still lose their homes in droves and bankruptcy and judgments are facts of life most of us never wanted to face. That’s reality and – like I said – it sucks.
Let’s have LESS reality.
People who spend money they really need for food, bills or utility payments on books are – for the love of all ducks – not looking to get more reality in their lives. They’re looking to escape from whatever wolf is presently lurking just outside their door. If people want more reality, they can turn on a 24-hour news channel and be depressed and enraged constantly and it’s probably part of their basic cable package. People buying books or spending entertainment dollars are looking to bring fun and excitement into their lives. They desperately need some time away in order to give them fuel to work at surviving for a few more days.
The LAST thing writers, artists, actors, producers or directors owe people is “a slice of life.” Real life slices people into slivers of themselves just fine in today’s world without their paying to get sliced and diced a little faster. We owe people something more, something different, something BETTER.
Don’t buy my books if you’re looking for a realistic portrayal of anything. I’d never shortchange my readers by giving them reality. If you’re looking for reality — open a window, answer your creditors’ calls, and turn on a 24-hour news channel. If you’re looking to escape to a place that looks and feels nothing like your everyday world – pick up a Quacking Alone romance where a happy ending is guaranteed.
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