Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WOULD JANE AUSTEN BE PUBLISHED TODAY?

Too much telling!

Every contestant’s nightmare critique.
And a favorite complaint of judges
across the industry. Have you read much omniscient lately?
It’s all about the deep POV. Get in their heads and feel what
they’re feeling; don’t tell us what they feel.

But what about Agatha Christie? Charlotte Bronte?
Jane Austen?
Have you read their books---helllooooo!
Are their books classics that have stood the test of time?
Helllloooooo again…
But!!! And here’s my big but
(no comments from those of you who know me),
would they survive, would they be looked at twice,
would they be pubbed today?
Let’s look at a f’rinstance!

Pride and Prejudice
In the first few chapters we were in so many heads,
they didn’t even have time to hop.
And the adjectives were plentiful enough
for a junior high English Comp class.
How about the characters? Let’s look at my favorite.

Mr. Darcy!

He was at the same time haughty,
reserved, and fastidious,
and his manners, though well-bred,
were not inviting.

I can only imagine the comments from a fiction
writing contest today.
“SHOW us how haughty he was. Let us see through dialogue and
actions just HOW his manners were not inviting.
Give us examples that put us in the character’s head.”
And by today’s standards, they would be right.

We really do write what we read, and if we only read books that
aren’t being pubbed in today’s market, how do we expect to get
published ourselves?

Am I saying the classics are bad?
Heavens, no!

But I am saying the market isn’t the same one that
existed when Austen and Bronte,
or even Christie wrote. Shucks, it isn’t the same market as
the one Mary Higgins Clark broke into years ago.

The industry is changing—are you willing to change, too,
or will you be left behind?

6 comments:

  1. Hmm...I wonder. Maybe their style would be different if they were around today. They seem to really have a finger on the pulse of the day. That has to extend to professional savvy. Interesting question. =)

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  2. It'a always fun to think about it and compare, but maybe that would have robbed them of the flavor of their work. Sigh, hard to know...

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  3. Sooo true. It amazes me that I wasn't bugged by head-hopping until I learned what it is. Now it drives me CRAZY ;)

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  4. That was for me the hardest part as I love some of the more literary styles and had to learn how to show more than tell. Still love those, though:) But have to produce what will sell.

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  5. I just read Pride and Prejudice. Never read it or saw the movies, so it was a "first time" experience for me. Must say, at times it was slow going getting through all the changes in POV!!! I'm just not used to that with how we write today.

    But--the story was wonderful and I fell in love with Mr. Darcy myself!! So, I think Jane Austen would take her wonderful story and submit it "just right" if she was here writing in today's market and today's world.

    Wonderful, and classic! Oh, and by the way--I read a very old copy that I loved holding, smelling, and turning pages!

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  6. You're cracking me up!
    Some of those styles are still being used though, but not so much in Christian fiction.

    Gotta love them contest judges...LOL

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