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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pigeon-squishing and Branding

I'm snowed about why every book has to have it's pointy bits lopped off so it can get crammed into a pigeon-hole. Aren't pointy bits what make the book interesting and different? Why must we become Carolyn Keen pumping out Nancy Drew books to be successful? (Not that I didn't love my share of Nancy Drew books growing up.)

By pointy bits, I'm not suggesting printing a bunch of trash. I mean the salient features which make the story unique. If it's a great story, for heaven's sake, tell the story! 

For that matter, why does an author have to stick to writing one type of book? The rebel in me hates this idea. So many ideas are jetting around in my head that I refuse to settle into one rut forever. I know I'm not alone in this. It seems to me that if a person gets crammed into that pigeonhole and spends the rest of her life writing the same thing, it becomes pedantic and formulaic. If you read one of their books, you've pretty much read them all. She might have a great following because she's branded herself, but she also won't know what could have been around the corner either. She'll (or he'll) be safe.

It seems to me that the idea is to bring forth something fresh and brilliant. Why can't vampires be in love stories (and be sparkly for crying out loud--vampires are MYTHS! You can change mythical beings however the heck you want to). Wait...done already. Enjoyed it. Why can't you have lovable space cowboy pirates in a half Chinese universe? Oops, done. Loved it. How about fairies in a Western? Why not have a family safari on another planet? How about a religious girl finding love in the depths of space? I want to tell them to kick out the claustrophobic walls and breathe free!

I think we get too bound up in branding and genres, sometimes. If Jos Whedon can do it, why can't all of us? So what if bookstore owners have to try and figure out a new shelf to put you on. They should try being creative for once! Make a new shelf. Do something intrepid! For the sake of great stories, let them fly and breathe free!
                                                                              Indigo Chase

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