Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Subjectivity

I read an excellent post over at BookEnds' blog yesterday - A Subjective Business. They start out talking about an editor who wasn't interested in a book because it went against her political leanings. I can respect that. If an editor truly believes in one thing, I don't see how they can, in good conscience, publish something antithetical to their beliefs.

Unfortunately, this may become a cause for concern for me someday. I may have already come up against this and not known it. Take Caldera, for example, where the antagonist is an eco-terrorist and his acolytes are all environmentalists. Let's say I query an agent who leans toward the environmentalist side. How happy are they going to be to represent Caldera? Probably not very.

Herein lies the rub when you're dealing with big ideas and larger issues - even in a fictional format. I knew this coming in, though. I could write my books without those issues, but then I wouldn't be true to myself and my writing would suffer. (Not that every book has to have big issues - although many times they do without even realizing it.) Heck, even AWJ, which is a nice little suspense/mystery still has issues woven within it. I can't help myself, and I'm not sure that I want to. To quote that cartoon icon, Popeye: "I am what I am".

I've spent the better part of the day thinking about the subjectivity of this business, and if anything could be done about it. Is there a way to be completely objective? Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think everyone just needs to be as objective as they can within the framework of their own philosophy of life.

I'm sure there are agents out there who are representing things they don't necessarily believe in - at least I hope there are, otherwise I've got a list of agents I couldn't even think about querying based on the people they represent.

See? It even comes from the writer's side. I have my own set of values by which I measure those I deal with, and when my set of values and someone else's are diametrically opposed, it makes any kind of relationship impossible.

Here's hoping I can find an agent with a similar philosophy, or one who is at least close enough to see my work for the good it is. Otherwise, I'll just keep amassing manuscripts and hoping someday to have a place in the world of publishing.

Good luck to us all.

2 comments:

Tia said...

I believe I ran into that problem with my own, languishing book. It has disguised Christianity and all these big messages in it. I thought I had buried them . . . but I've come to the conclusion that big ideas don't bury well.

But I must have gotten it out of my system, because with the book I am working on now, I know that I've surpassed the level of writing that I achieved in my last book. It still has big ideas, but my goal in writing this book is to leverage myself into the publishing world. To do that, I'm trying to write the most entertaining novel I can. I have humor, suspense and romance -- and a heroine who stands up for her beliefs despite the personal cost to herself.

My hope is that if this book can be the one that gets me published -- and it's my best yet -- then agents or editors might take a more serious look at my "big ideas" book.

liz fenwick said...

Yet another good question....my cynical side says that if the story is compelling enough then the editor/agent will run with it because of business. After all they have to make a living. I would like that wasn't they way but from what I have seen of the business world it is........now off to read the link :-)