Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thoughts on readers, and on writing


I’ve just had feedback from three friends on the latest incarnation of But I told you last year that I loved you. And what’s interesting to me is that apart from one particular plot point, they all pick out different things to comment on.

And this led me on to thinking about the variety of responses to books in general. It may be obvious to you, dear reader, but I’m always surprised at how differently different people respond to the same book. I don’t mean the fact that one person enjoys a book, while another tries to read it and gives up, casting it aside in disgust or frustration or boredom. What I mean is that one reader will say a book is light and comic, while another considers it serious.

And then there are the readers who think that if a book makes them laugh it cannot also be deeply serious. Also, that somehow a funny book is easier to write than a book where the author does not use humour. And another thing – some readers think that if a book is easy to read, it must be easier to write (writers know that the opposite of this is true.)  And also – that a book that is difficult to read is somehow more worthy and serious than a book that is accessible. (This last opinion enrages me!)

Do you have anything to say about any of this, dear reader?

Here’s a starting point – one reader told me they thought Plotting for Beginners dealt with some serious stuff, and another told me they thought Zuzu’s Petals was “light – and much lighter than Plotting.”


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