Monday, November 17, 2008

The book you sell to yourself

This weekend, as Twilight opens in thousands of theaters, I have great plans to go to my local movie theater, relax with a box of popcorn, and see a movie full of adventure and romance, starring a very hot male lead.

Quantum of Solace is going to be FANTASTIC.

My preference for Daniel Craig over Robert Pattinson aside, I just had to link to this interview with Stephenie Meyer in today's Chicago Sun-Times: 'Hooked' by 'Twilight' film. For the most part, it's an average interview, but this part made me squint:

Ask her why these books are such a hit and she smiles warmly and says, "For me, it's an absolute mystery. I wrote these books for me and I don't know why people have responded. But no one was supposed to read these but me."

Either I'm misinterpreting, or that is the most mind-boggling statement I've read this month today. Who does Stephenie Meyer think she's kidding?

Look, I understand wanting to write for yourself. Faulkner said it best: If the story is in you, it has got to come out. I understand having a cool dream and wanting to write about it. And once it's out of you, you can decide that these books are for you and no one else is supposed to see them. Then you can put them in a drawer and forget about them for a while, maybe forever. These are all quite acceptable things to do with your story. It's also quite acceptable to come up with an idea, put together a manuscript, shop it around, and maybe sell a bestselling novel.

But if you're going to say the philosophy behind the former but actually do the latter, either stop saying or doing. If no one was supposed to read the book but you, then it wasn't a good idea to shop it to major publishing houses. If you always meant to shop it around, then you shouldn't say it was written for you and no one else should have seen it because publishing is anything but a solitary process.

Either one is fine, really. Just tell me which it is.

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