Saturday, July 07, 2007

Comparing Apples to Oranges

By Keith Fisher

I was going to write a patriotic piece for Independence Day, but with all that has been written, I decided to post something else.

Have you ever asked somebody—usually someone close to you—for an opinion about your book, and they say, “Well you’re not insert their favorite author here ”?

Dealing with rejection is a common thing in the writing business. We learn to develop a thick skin, but being negatively compared to another writer is hard. Especially when that writer doesn’t even write in the same genre.

When asked what kind of books I write, I often say I write LDS fiction. I’m writing four mysteries, one historical, one fanfic*, and the rest are adult contemporary fiction. “A little like Dean Hughes,” I say, when pressed further.

I like having my work compared favorably to his Children of the Promise and Hearts of the Children series. I also loved Midway to Heaven. Being compared UN-favorably to him may not be fun, but I could use the criticism to improve my writing. Or I could reject the opinion out of hand.

I am developing a response for those I reject. I’m going to wipe my brow and say, “Phew . . . I was afraid I might be copying. I’m glad to hear I’ve developed my own style.”

In having others read my work I discovered a distinct difference in taste. Even though I write for everyone, some people aren’t going to like the way the story is told. So I’m adjusting to the largest group.

I’m not giving up on the others. I figure I can do what Dan Brown did. When everyone begins to talk about my book, the others will wonder what they’re missing.

Hang in there, consider the source, take comfort in the good reviews, and write for the largest group of readers.
Keep writing.

*Fan fiction (also commonly spelled as fanfiction and frequently abbreviated to fanfic or occasionally just FF or fic) is a broadly-defined term for fiction about characters or settings written by fans of the original work


ali said...

Keith, I loved your new response - you should definitely go for it!

One day you will have a following and people will be unfavorably comparing someone else to YOU!

C. L. Beck said...

Keep at it! What Ali said is true ... someday you'll be the standard that people look up to.

G. Parker said...

I didn't mean to take your patriotic piece wouldn't have hurt to do yours anyway. This was good though...