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Thread: Author suggests JK Rowling stop writing adult fiction

  1. #1
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Default Author suggests JK Rowling stop writing adult fiction

    24 February 2014



    Author suggests JK Rowling stop writing adult fiction

    By Anthony ZurcherEditor, Echo Chambers
    Are JK Rowling's books taking shelf space away from younger, more talented authors?


    By writing the adult fiction novel The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling "sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere", making it harder for aspiring authors to flourish.

    At least, that's what Lynn Shepherd, an author of "literary mysteries" set in 19th Century England, thinks. On Friday she penned a piece for the Huffington Post in which she contended that the author of the Harry Potter saga has "had her turn" and should stick with children's books (which she admits she hasn't read).

    "Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do," she writes.

    She concludes by telling Ms Rowling:
    Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you're doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it's time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.

    So what happens when you take dead aim at one of the most popular authors of modern times? Nothing good, that's for certain.

    "What Ms. Shepherd appears to be suggesting is that Rowling should be happy with the success she's earned, and should stop, because apparently, there is no more reason for Rowling to continue writing in the adult market," writes author Nathan Scalia for Lit Reactor.

    It's a "ridiculous" argument, he says. "If my book doesn't succeed, it's because it didn't resonate with fans the same way that Harry Potter did. There's room enough on the bookshelf for both."

    Shepherd misunderstands literary economics, says author Larry Correia.

    "JK Rowling making a dollar does not take a dollar out of your pocket," he writes. "That is loser talk. Quite the contrary, she has grown our market, and brought more readers into genre fiction, so she's actually put dollars IN your pocket. "

    Steven Salvatore Shaw writes for the blog beautifulCHAOS that Shepherd is belittling young adult (YA) novels.
    "There is so much more room for creativity with text in the YA genre than in adult fiction (not that I'm knocking adult fiction by any stretch), but it's obvious that Shepherd hasn't bothered to understand the genre that she's trying - and failing miserably - to critique," he writes.

    But why stop at criticising Shepherd? Amanda Green on the blog According to Hoyt contends that the author reflects the entitled attitude of an entire generation.

    "They haven't been taught what it means to have to face consequences for their actions or inactions," she writes. "Our schools don't help. How can they when more and more of them are doing away with pesky little things like homework or take a test one time and learn to live with your score?"

    Romance author Tymber Dalton writes that Shepherd's piece is a shining example for new authors of what not to say in public.

    "I can't think of a faster way to totally tank your career than to piss off a WORLD of readers by looking like a jealous, petty, wannabe hack," she writes.

    In case there was any doubt about that point, visit Shepherd's author page on the online bookseller Amazon.com, where her books are getting blasted with one-star reviews from outraged Harry Potter fans.
    "I didn't read this book but, if the author's HuffPo article taught me one thing, it's that I don't have to read a book in order to judge it," reads on typical post. "So here's a one-star review. Not because I believe in trolling, but because Lynn does. You want to pan other writers work without reading it first, then enjoy the world you built."

    At the beginning of her piece, Shepherd concedes that a friend told her not to write it, as "everyone will just put it down to sour grapes".

    If she's a really good friend, she's not saying "I told you so" right now.

    Update: As reader SoIndianaGuy points out in the comments, best-selling author Anne Rice (of Interview With a Vampire fame) has also weighed in on the topic. On her Facebook page, she calls Shepherd's piece a "vicious, cynical, resentful and thoroughly ugly article".

    She continues:
    Never have I seen anything this malicious ever directed towards an actor, a painter, a ballet dancer, an opera singer, a film director. No, this is the kind of petty, spiteful condescending criticism that is for some reason reserved for writers in our world. And that it was written by some one who is a writer herself makes it doubly nasty and shocking...
    In my life as a novelist, I've come to believe we are only in competition with ourselves when we strive to do our best; there is plenty of room for a multitude of successful endeavors in the ever changing world of books and readers, and there always will be.

    It all goes to show that you should be very careful picking fights with people whose book sales are counted by the million.
    Source: BBC News - Author suggests JK Rowling stop writing adult fiction

    And the article in question.....



    Lynn Shepherd

    Novelist and copywriter

    If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It

    Posted: 21/02/2014

    When I told a friend the title of this piece she looked at me in horror and said, "You can't say that, everyone will just put it down to sour grapes!" And she does, of course, have a point. No struggling but relatively ambitious writer can possibly be anything other than envious. You'd be scarcely human otherwise. But this particular piece isn't about that.

    I didn't much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I've never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can't comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent. I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there's so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds. But, then again, any reading is better than no reading, right? But The Casual Vacancy changed all that.

    It wasn't just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile. That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere. And I chose that analogy quite deliberately, because I think that sort of monopoly can make it next to impossible for anything else to survive, let alone thrive. Publishing a book is hard enough at the best of times, especially in an industry already far too fixated with Big Names and Sure Things, but what can an ordinary author do, up against such a
    Golgomath?

    And then there was the whole Cuckoo's Calling saga. I know she used a pseudonym, and no doubt strenuous efforts were indeed made to conceal her identity, but there is no spell strong enough to keep that concealed for long. Her boy hero may be able to resort to an invisibility cloak, but in the real world, they just don't exist. With a secret as sensational as that, it was only a matter of time until the inevitable happened, and then, of course, this apparently well-written and well-received crime novel which seems to have sold no more than 1,500 copies under its own steam, suddenly went stratospheric. And as with The Casual Vacancy, so with this. The book dominated crime lists, and crime reviews in newspapers, and crime sections in bookshops, making it even more difficult than it already was for other books - just as well-written, and just as well-received - to get a look in. Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do. And now there's going to be a sequel, and you can bet the same thing is going to happen all over again.

    So this is my plea to JK Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo's Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there, because we can't wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word. By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure - I would never deny anyone that - but when it comes to the adult market you've had your turn. Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you're doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it's time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.


    Source: If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It | Lynn Shepherd
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "What's traitors, precious?" -- President Gollum

  2. #2
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I read The Cuckoo's Calling and it was all right. Better than some of the crap that's out there, and not as good as others. Someone just sounds bitter, jealous and fat.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I don't believe in retaliating against Shepherd. My main point is that Rowling is such a phenomenon that I think she represents a draw for bookstores, bringing in customers that wouldn't normally go in there, and helping them survive a little longer.

    It's like another golfer resenting Tiger Woods. Woods has enlarged the overall gold viewing audience and helped enrich his fellow golfers. If you don't like him, though, go out and play a better game.
    manningmsj likes this.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    This seems petty. She should have spent that energy writing a better book. If you write it they will read.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Expecting to be stoned, tared and feathered. I DESPISE HARRY POTTER!
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    You said it, Alysheba. He's a filthy mud blood!!!
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    Elite Member Karistiona's Avatar
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    Wanker. I liked the Casual Vacancy and the Cuckoo's Calling, nice wee reads the both of them if not exactly challenging. And my love for Harry knows no bounds. As a fully fledged adult reader I am actually capable of reading books by more than just one author, so I can read JK, George RR Martin, China Mieville, all of my faves. If anyone should stop writing it's those idiots who keep writing a thinly-veiled rehash of the 50 Shades books for frustrated housewives, not worth the paper they're printed on.
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    Elite Member *Kat*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    You said it, Alysheba. He's a filthy mud blood!!!
    Half-blood

    Sorry for the double post, But I found some funny Amazon reviews that I had to share.

    "Who is Lynn Shepherd? She should stop breathing air so other people will have an opportunity to feel what it's like."

    "This book is drivel. Sincerely poor writing. It's not something that should be read by adults, or by children. I've never read it, but I FEEL qualified to comment on it because the author is more successful at writing than I. Turnabout is fair play, Lynn."

    "So this is the clever lady who said JK Rowling should quit writing to make room for other authors. That could be a good rule. Shakespeare could have stopped after 7 plays, sure. Who cares about depriving the world of amazing content. And why not musicians too - after you've hit the top several times, stop composing so others can get heard. What a rocket scientist this one is."

    "This woman should have refrained from writing this book in order to give other books a chance to be read."

    "...so I can say with great, Lynn Shepherian authority that she should stop writing to make room for other fanfiction-leaning hacks, because people are only allowed to read one book per year, and it shouldn't be a good one."

    "you've had your turn. Is one published book not enough for you? Hundreds of thousands of writers stand behind you, waiting for their turn. Stop taking up publishers' time and give someone else a shot. It's time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe."

    "Not worth the read. Smug, self-aggrandizing, delusional, boring, unnecessary, unimpressive, one-dimentional, insipid... Might as well have read a children's book."
    Last edited by twitchy2.0; February 26th, 2014 at 11:17 PM.
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  10. #10
    Elite Member choozen1ne's Avatar
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    As a bookseller I am all for her writing as many books as she wants, as much as some of these authors suck bookstore always appreciate business
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  11. #11
    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by choozen1ne View Post
    As a bookseller I am all for her writing as many books as she wants, as much as some of these authors suck bookstore always appreciate business
    I wholeheartedly agree. Our local WH Smiths has just closed a couple of weeks ago, and while they weren't much cop anyway it means that the only dedicated book seller we have now is a teeny tiny independent place that mostly sells classic and local history books. You can get order other titles - they'll try and get anything you ask for - but when you want a book you want it there and then to run off home with or to some comfortable cafe so you can start reading it straight away, not a week or two later. The only other alternative we have now is to go through Amazon and wait for it to be delivered or get a train through to Liverpool or Manchester to visit one of the big chains.

    Also while JK Rowling isn't my cup of tea at least I've heard of her, unlike Lynn Shepherd.
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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    This opinion is just plain offensive. Everyone who wants to express themselves through writing and contribute something to the zeitgeist should bloody well do so. Lynn Shepherd can suck it.
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

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  13. #13
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    A S Byatt is another one who had a bash at J K Rowling. Salon termed it "A.S. Byatt and the goblet of bile"

    I also enjoy Byatt's books so this bugged me a bit. Not everything I read is the same. It's like food; some of what I eat is exquisitely prepared and sometimes I just want some fries. Some of I read is brilliant literature filled with complex language and characters and sometimes I want a mystery or young adult novel etc. because reading can just be for fun, damn it.

    Harry Potter and the Childish Adult


    By A.S. BYATT
    Published: July 7, 2003

    LONDON
    What is the secret of the explosive and worldwide success of the Harry Potter books? Why do they satisfy children and — a much harder question — why do so many adults read them? I think part of the answer to the first question is that they are written from inside a child's-eye view, with a sure instinct for childish psychology. But then how do we answer the second question? Surely one precludes the other.


    The easy question first. Freud described what he called the "family romance," in which a young child, dissatisfied with its ordinary home and parents, invents a fairy tale in which it is secretly of noble origin, and may even be marked out as a hero who is destined to save the world. In J. K. Rowling's books, Harry is the orphaned child of wizards who were murdered trying to save his life. He lives, for unconvincingly explained reasons, with his aunt and uncle, the truly dreadful Dursleys, who represent, I believe, his real "real" family, and are depicted with a relentless, gleeful, overdone venom. The Dursleys are his true enemy. When he arrives at wizarding school, he moves into a world where everyone, good and evil, recognizes his importance, and tries either to protect or destroy him.

    The family romance is a latency-period fantasy, belonging to the drowsy years between 7 and adolescence. In "Order of the Phoenix," Harry, now 15, is meant to be adolescent. He spends a lot of the book becoming excessively angry with his protectors and tormentors alike. He discovers that his late (and "real") father was not a perfect magical role model, but someone who went in for fits of nasty playground bullying. He also discovers that his mind is linked to the evil Lord Voldemort, thereby making him responsible in some measure for acts of violence his nemesis commits.


    In psychoanalytic terms, having projected his childish rage onto the caricature Dursleys, and retained his innocent goodness, Harry now experiences that rage as capable of spilling outward, imperiling his friends. But does this mean Harry is growing up? Not really. The perspective is still child's-eye. There are no insights that reflect someone on the verge of adulthood. Harry's first date with a female wizard is unbelievably limp, filled with an 8-year-old's conversational maneuvers.

    Auden and Tolkien wrote about the skills of inventing "secondary worlds." Ms. Rowling's world is a secondary secondary world, made up of intelligently patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature — from the jolly hockey-sticks school story to Roald Dahl, from "Star Wars" to Diana Wynne Jones and Susan Cooper. Toni Morrison pointed out that clichés endure because they represent truths. Derivative narrative clichés work with children because they are comfortingly recognizable and immediately available to the child's own power of fantasizing.

    The important thing about this particular secondary world is that it is symbiotic with the real modern world. Magic, in myth and fairy tales, is about contacts with the inhuman — trees and creatures, unseen forces. Most fairy story writers hate and fear machines. Ms. Rowling's wizards shun them and use magic instead, but their world is a caricature of the real world and has trains, hospitals, newspapers and competitive sport. Much of the real evil in the later books is caused by newspaper gossip columnists who make Harry into a dubious celebrity, which is the modern word for the chosen hero. Most of the rest of the evil (apart from Voldemort) is caused by bureaucratic interference in educational affairs.

    Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, "only personal." Nobody is trying to save or destroy anything beyond Harry Potter and his friends and family.

    So, yes, the attraction for children can be explained by the powerful working of the fantasy of escape and empowerment, combined with the fact that the stories are comfortable, funny, just frightening enough.

    They comfort against childhood fears as Georgette Heyer once comforted us against the truths of the relations between men and women, her detective stories domesticating and blanket-wrapping death. These are good books of their kind. But why would grown-up men and women become obsessed by jokey latency fantasies?

    Comfort, I think, is part of the reason. Childhood reading remains potent for most of us. In a recent BBC survey of the top 100 "best reads," more than a quarter were children's books. We like to regress. I know that part of the reason I read Tolkien when I'm ill is that there is an almost total absence of sexuality in his world, which is restful.

    But in the case of the great children's writers of the recent past, there was a compensating seriousness. There was — and is — a real sense of mystery, powerful forces, dangerous creatures in dark forests. Susan Cooper's teenage wizard discovers his magic powers and discovers simultaneously that he is in a cosmic battle between good and evil forces. Every bush and cloud glitters with secret significance. Alan Garner peoples real landscapes with malign, inhuman elvish beings that hunt humans.

    Reading writers like these, we feel we are being put back in touch with earlier parts of our culture, when supernatural and inhuman creatures — from whom we thought we learned our sense of good and evil — inhabited a world we did not feel we controlled. If we regress, we regress to a lost sense of significance we mourn for. Ursula K. Le Guin's wizards inhabit an anthropologically coherent world where magic really does act as a force. Ms. Rowling's magic wood has nothing in common with these lost worlds. It is small, and on the school grounds, and dangerous only because she says it is.

    In this regard, it is magic for our time. Ms. Rowling, I think, speaks to an adult generation that hasn't known, and doesn't care about, mystery. They are inhabitants of urban jungles, not of the real wild. They don't have the skills to tell ersatz magic from the real thing, for as children they daily invested the ersatz with what imagination they had.

    Similarly, some of Ms. Rowling's adult readers are simply reverting to the child they were when they read the Billy Bunter books, or invested Enid Blyton's pasteboard kids with their own childish desires and hopes. A surprising number of people — including many students of literature — will tell you they haven't really lived in a book since they were children. Sadly, being taught literature often destroys the life of the books. But in the days before dumbing down and cultural studies no one reviewed Enid Blyton or Georgette Heyer — as they do not now review the great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody as opposed to derivative manipulation of past motifs, who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences.

    It is the substitution of celebrity for heroism that has fed this phenomenon. And it is the leveling effect of cultural studies, which are as interested in hype and popularity as they are in literary merit, which they don't really believe exists. It's fine to compare the Brontës with bodice-rippers. It's become respectable to read and discuss what Roland Barthes called "consumable" books. There is nothing wrong with this, but it has little to do with the shiver of awe we feel looking through Keats's "magic casements, opening on the foam/Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn."

    A.S. Byatt is author, most recently, of the novel "A Whistling Woman."
    Harry Potter and the Childish Adult - NYTimes.com
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "What's traitors, precious?" -- President Gollum

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    What a stupid twat that author is. Once kids finish the Harry Potter book, or other books, they may get the reading bug and look for the next thing to read. And JK Rowling's adult books can do the same for readers who might otherwise not have entered a bookstore or library.

    Almost any book can be a 'gateway drug' to more reading. My youngest (who's almost 20 now) devoured the first couple of Twilight books, then realized they were crap. I lectured her on how Twilight was a a very pale shadow of classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, etc. She read those books and moved onto Thomas Hardy and others. She reads classic literature for fun now. It is a wonderful sight.

    Even though Twilight is a piece of shit, my daughter experienced for the first time in years what it really felt like to "get into" a book and read for hours at a time. (She wasn't a big Harry Potter fan.) Reading begets more reading. It is that simple.
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    Elite Member Charmed Hour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    What a stupid twat that author is. Once kids finish the Harry Potter book, or other books, they may get the reading bug and look for the next thing to read. And JK Rowling's adult books can do the same for readers who might otherwise not have entered a bookstore or library.

    Almost any book can be a 'gateway drug' to more reading. My youngest (who's almost 20 now) devoured the first couple of Twilight books, then realized they were crap. I lectured her on how Twilight was a a very pale shadow of classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, etc. She read those books and moved onto Thomas Hardy and others. She reads classic literature for fun now. It is a wonderful sight.

    Even though Twilight is a piece of shit, my daughter experienced for the first time in years what it really felt like to "get into" a book and read for hours at a time. (She wasn't a big Harry Potter fan.) Reading begets more reading. It is that simple.
    My mom is a serious dyslexic, I mean really bad probably would be considered nearly functionally illiterate in some circles. Despite being a teacher, other than her lesson plans, she would read maybe 2-3 small books a year. No magazines, no newspapers. Oh, she does read her lifeguard manual prior to re-testing. We'd always joke that she was like a teenager, just never read things other than what was required.

    Anyway, she devoured the HP novels. She has continued to read- my sister introduced her to the 50 Shades genre style. I love that she's enjoying reading for once in her life. I won't knock anyone's writing style or taste in books, what matters to me is that they're writing/reading.

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