Fiction is the truth inside the lie.
~ Stephen King
Holly Lisle speaks out on writing for readers.
I followed a link back to a disgruntled reader�s comments about Memory of Fire, the first of the WORLD GATES novels, because the little Technorati link included the line that she was never picking up another one of my books, and I was curious about what I had done to so anger her.
It wasn�t what I thought. The object of her ire was not the quality of my writing, or issues she had with my plotting or pacing, or complaints about stupid mistakes. She was writing me off forever because of subject matter.
In a fantasy novel, I had dared to include a heroine who was a mother, had dared not to make her overweight and had permitted her to be rather pleased that, at the age of thirty-something and with a two-year-old kid, her butt and her stomach looked pretty good. The book included a little kid, something offensive to this reader. It also included not one but two threads in which people started exploring the possibilities of falling in love with other people. I had dared to include real-world elements that crossed over into a fantasy universe and back again.
I had done these things in a fantasy novel, oh horrors � where as everyone knows you can only write about elves and castles and dragons and brave knights and trolls. Or whatever the hell it was she expected to find when she picked up the book.
But see � for the writer, subject matter is not really what you write. It�s who you are.
Or in other words, you write the book that lives inside your heart. It might not be the book everyone wants to read, but that’s just too bad. To write any other kind of story would mean writing a lie – and while all storytelling is, to some degree, the practice of complex untruths, a writer does her readers (and herself) a grave disservice by trying to be something she is not.
Anyway, enough said on my part. Go read the whole article.