1. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Art vs Marketability

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by superpsycho, Mar 2, 2012.

    Out of curiosity do you write to please yourself or to get published?

    Do you write to the intellectual elite or keep it simple to maximize your audience?

    Do you seek to be totally original or look to a successful formula?

    Have you even given it any thought?
     
  2. Pink-Angel-1992
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    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

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    When I started to write is was becauses a friend didn't want to join and start writing for a Fanfic site by herself; I enjoy writing and that is my motervation now (when I'm in the mood!).

    [Edited]
     
  3. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    One of the biggest obstacles to being a writer is the discipline it requires to write, even when you don't want to.
     
  4. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Why the 'vs.'?

    I write to please myself, but I also want to be published.

    I write a layered story, neither 'intellectual' nor 'simple'. Some people will just follow the story, others will see the deeper layers, the symbolism, etcetera.

    My work is original, but it's originality is mainly in the combination of elements - the elements themselves might have been used before by other authors, but my combination is unique.
     
  5. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Because often it is a choice, though I agree it doesn't have to be. Not everyone hits the right balance automatically nor are they necessarily inclined to that balance.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write similar genres that I like to read, and I like dynamic, popular literature. I like it to be good, but still, I tend to like stuff that becomes popular. So whether I am writing with or without ambitions to publish a particular piece, it will always be suitable for publishing, thematically speaking (quality-wise I hope so too, but that's up to my skill and effort).
     
  7. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    The main problem I see with your first post, is that nowhere do you suggest that it might be possible to strike a balance between art and commerce, between self-expression and amusing an audience.
     
  8. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I would expect the question not to arise except after someone is published. As matter of improving sales or number of publications. For many Writing is a profession after all. They have to make a living at it. Most here would not yet need to concern themselves with the issue since they are more concerned about developing their talents at this point. There are many more you make a living doing articles, piece work and other things besides writing books.

    The questions were asked to promote thought.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write similar genres that I like to read, and I like dynamic, popular literature. I like it to be good, but still, I tend to like stuff that becomes popular. So whether I am writing with or without ambitions to publish a particular piece, it will always be suitable for publishing, thematically speaking (quality-wise I hope so too, but that's up to my skill and effort).
     
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  10. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Same here to a certain degree. I've done a lot of writing for business but haven't done stories for years. Right now I'm just seeing if I can get back into that type of writing.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write stories that I would like to read and I try to write them so well that other people will enjoy them too. I don't think much in terms of art but I do believe it's possible to unite art and marketability. I don't believe in writing by formula, I think my writing is kind of unique in it's own, be it good or bad, and even the story ideas I choose and I would never write anything 'just' to get published, (although I don't even know if there is such a thing. Would a writer who thinks only about money ever produce something sellable if he didn't have a genuine love for the craft? I mean, it's hard enough as it is to be published) I need to enjoyt it myself to be able to spend month after month after month working on it and striving for perfection. I wouldn't be able to do that if I didn't got a great pleasure out of it. I like my characters even though they may not always be very nice. i don't know exactly who you intend by 'the elite' (literary or 'commercial' fiction elite? Or critics?) but I do like my stories to have that little something that distinguish them from other novels of similar genres out there.
     
  12. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    When I say elite I'm referring to the college professor types. I've known some people who made a pretty good living at formula and template writing. Just watch TV for a while.
     
  13. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I write because I have a story to tell, something to tell someone whether it's about me, my life or something that provokes my thoughts. My stories always reflect some piece of my thoughts or experiences, my MCs are all little shards of my personality. So I write to please, enjoy and express myself as well as develop my skills and might one day publish. Whether I make it simple intentionally or naturally, that's something I'll have to find out because my writing is simple, to the point. I don't like colorful sentences and long, boring prose; would rather get to the action and that's the style I tend to read.

    I'm not really sure what you mean by formula. Is that like looking for the right idea? I'm not sure I do that. Usually a story idea just strikes me while I'm occupied with something else. The novel I'm currently working on came to me in the shower (it's usually the best place to get ideas. lol), I didn't change much about it and not planning to. Whatever idea I get I work on it, there's nothing to evaluate, every story is unique in its own.
     
  14. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    The "intellectual elite" whoever they are can go get fat off of textbooks and pat each other on the back as far as I'm concerned.
     
  15. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    They have tenure.
     
  16. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I never thought about it. I guess I figured that I wouldn't be completely pleased with my work unless I was the best author I could be, and if I as the best author I could be couldn't be published and enjoyed by at least some people, well, what do I care?
     
  17. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Best author? How would you know or by what measure? Do you consider yourself a success by how many people like your work, by what people like your work or by your own view of the work?
     
  18. Fifth Business
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    I think writing for yourself and about something you're passionate about will come through to the reader, and make them respect it more.

    Even if you are writing for the "intellectual audience", you're still writing with a purpose to please a certain readership.

    There are some intellectual films that were huge. Shawshank Redemption, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, Crash...They have underlying themes that appeal to the person analyzing them!

    I think you can be intellectual and still appeal to a wider audience. It's when you try and purposely be intellectual just for the sake of sounding smart that you come off as snobby and pretentious.

    Always write for yourself, always edit for the readership!
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who in the world writes to 'college professor types'? what purpose would that serve? Which kind of books are we really talking about here? I'm not sure I understand you here.
     
  20. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Everyone looks to be accepted by their peers. Even if you write for yourself you look to others to see what your progress is. Why are here? The question then becomes who do you consider your peers or who would you like to be your peers?
     
  21. AmsterdamAssassin
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    Who are my peers? Those who share my profession? My social standing? My financial status? My niche?

    I can't look to others to see my progress, writing is not a competition, so my relative progress compared to somebody else's is irrelevant.

    I think there's a middle ground between writing for the 'intellectual elite' and churning out 'formulaic drivel'.
     
  22. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    I just want to write good stories. Quality, by any means. I could care less to pander to my audience or to a general readership, but if I write what sells, then that's good too.

    Telling a good story doesn't have much to do with doing it for the art or having good marketability. If you have a quality product, it will practically sell itself, though I don't consider myself pompous enough to think that any story I write is gold and deserves to be read by all. If it's good, it's good, and that's all that matter to me.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The question is somewhat deceptive. Not deliberately so, but decptive nevertheless.

    Were I to write a story solely for myself, there would be no need to write it at all. No need to struggle with the pace and phrasing, no need to search for just the right word to convey precise meaning. I could merely close my eyes and play it out in my daydreams.

    In truth, there are many stories in my head that get exactly that treatment. I play it out, but have no need to share it. The main reason is usually that I don't see it as holding anyone's interest but my own, certainly not enough interest to justify expending the effort necessary to present it to others.

    So if I put in the effort to write it out, it's because at some level I believe it to be of interest to enough people outside my head. In other words, I have a sense that it may be marketable.

    Some people consider marketability to be a rather soiled word. But the same people will ask plaintively whether a story idea sounds good. It's a form of self-deception. If you acknowledge you are writing for a market, you're no longer a pure artist. You're pimping to the masses.

    Bullshit. Writing is a form of communication, as is any other form of art. It is meant to be shown to others, and understood, and appreciated. And the writer's or artist's disdain for Market is largely a defense against rejection. Those who cannot appreciate your vision are merely unsophisticated cattle.

    Of course, creating art, including writing, for the sole purpose of reaching as many consumers as possible to the exclusion of any commitment to truth is a form of intellectual prostitution. I'm sure no one has any difficulty naming a famous writer who pumps out the same story with slight variations year after year, who seems to write only to the muse of ka-ching.

    So just don't be that writer. But as a writer devoted to truth, at least be honest enough to acknowledge that you choose which stories to write on the basis of how many people are likely to be interested in it.

    Because truth is the only god an artist bows to.
     
  24. Nakhti
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    The first draft of my novel came about from a single scene that I used to daydream about repeatedly. I just got carried away with the characters and the story until suddenly I had 30 chapters, but I wrote it to please myself, I didn't really think about an audience. But I did let people read it, and they all told me it was good enough to be published, so I submitted it to an agent. She said she enjoyed it, thought it was well written, but she couldn't sell it to the UK historical fiction market because it wasn't 'high concept' enough. She suggested I come up with my BIG IDEA to build into the existing story and make the plot more ambitious. So, that's what I'm doing - rewriting a story written entirely to my personal taste into something that will have commercial appeal, purely to get it published. Do I feel like a sell out? HELL NO. I think being forced to be 'more ambitious' was the best thing the agent ever did for me. The current draft is so much better than the old one, I'm finding less and less of the old draft I like. It's still in there in places, but heavily edited.

    I think writing for an audience is a good thing, as it forces you to be ruthless and less self indulgent, editing out the stuff that you may love, but doesn't really need to be there. I think that's probably the most important skill for a writer to develop.
     
  25. Yoshiko
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    I write purely to please myself. Writing has no significance in my life goals. It just so happens that sometimes what I write appeals to others, too, so several of my stories have been published. However, I use a foreign (German) penname so no one will ever relate my work back to me - who is actually a film editor at present (although I intend to leave this post in the near future to go back to college).
     

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