Yesterday I posted Rob Parnell’s classic post Murder your Darlings because it turned up on the day I posted the conflicting view Flabby or Plump; Can You Cut Too Deep, also on the same day I read Joanna Penn’s blog post which asks the question Would you rather be a Best-Selling Author or a Best Writing Author.
She lists five best selling authors who bend, break or simply ignore writing rules and yet are loved by millions. All of which are eager to lay their money down when a new work arrives on the shelves.
Of particular relevance to Fridays post is the paragraph on J K Rowlings use of adverbs. This cross links to a post by MJ Ryan called Harry Potter and the Evil Adverbs, where the author has taken the time to calculate that there are “4300 adverbs in Order of the Phoenix alone.” To me this seems to prove that the use of adverbs is not a cardinal sin in terms of an authors work being enjoyed by millions. Unfortunately they will obstruct an enjoyable romp from getting published.
I doubt that considering the book is primarily aimed at children, but also happens to have a large adult following, that the prime target audience would favour MJ Ryan’s suggestion that the book should be renamed from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to Harry Potter and the Hallows of Death.
Joanna’s post is comment rich, so don’t stop reading at the end of the post, there are some gems further down.
As before I will offer you no conclusion on what is right in all this, it is up to you to decide what is appropriate for you, what you wish too achieve with your writing and who you are writing for.
For me it has been an interesting few days, recent posts from Zoe Winters Deprogramming Ourselves and Revellian Interviewing Jeremy C. Shipp, amongst many others that have all been claiming the demise of the publishing industry and the need to produce new and innovative work that, importantly, the public desires.
If the publishing industry is declining as reported, then are we failing to provide what the public wants?
Finally in answer to Joanna’s question. “Would I rather be best-selling or a best writing author?” Well I would like to be a best entertaining author and to entertain as many people as I can. So I think this means I will have to write what people want and that means I may have to knowingly break, bend or ignore some of the rules on the way.
What will you do?
Photo; Doing The Book Browse cc Shanta