A few months ago I raised some discussion on my Facebook page about Stephen King’s Youtube interview in which he says (48:30) regarding Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey -esque books that ‘readers don’t want to be challenged.’ As well, King goes on to speak of a ‘snob’ contingency in the industry, where if a book shoots to stardom, audiences at the more intellectual end of the spectrum will outright reject it as literature. Where in the world can the middle be in such polarity? If authors shoot for such a middle, are they dabbling in mediocrity?
I confess, I’m curious about such dispersion and projection. I really like cerebral writing, not necessarily in the hardcore mechanical Samuel Beckett/Joseph Conrad sense (though obviously I remembered their work well enough to dredge them up for reference), but most definitely in a Storm Constantine/Neil Gaiman arena. I like to think about what I’m reading, and without question what I’m writing. In erotica particularly there remains the idea that sensuality can’t be smart, it can’t prompt catharsis, and it most certainly can’t be self-aware. How dare the pr0n-minded author understand his/her craft, thus conventions, and intentionally drive the reader through every cringe, gasp, heart thud, and clench of thighs? If anything, for me it takes a delicate balance between intricately crafted prose and the space amongst which I can insert my imagination to really come away from a book feeling that an author is gifted, that a book is mind-blowing. As a result, most of the YA, chicklit cum erotica just doesn’t do it for me.
What does it for you? Where is your balance between intellectual and genital stimulation in literature?
Authors, in your writing process, how aware are you of challenging your readers? Is challenging readers a goal of your writing legacy? Your process?
Readers, do you feel his statement is true for you, for the general population? What do you expect from authors? What challenges you? How challenged do you want to be by what you crave to read?