Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The New Harry Potter

There's always a craze which has to be followed.
Right now, the competition is hot for who can call himself or herself the new J.K.Rowling with the new Harry Potter.
The winner for the time being seems to be Stephenie Meyer, who had a full article devoted to her work and her online marketing campaign in a recent Business Week. She also seems to have taken over, if not the world, then certainly the Amazon Top 10.
What is she writing about? Vampires and children. Who is the target audience? Children, or, well, teenagers.
Maybe another contender would be Neil Gaiman. His tales also mix fantasy, children, gods, and other magical elements. And he sells. I don't know how much, but he does.
So should I also be writing fantasy for children or teenagers - or YA (Young Adults) - the politically correct expression for the easily offendible?
My first question is: aren't most societies graying, with children, teachers and pregnant women becoming a rare sight?
My second question is: aren't doomsayers telling us that kids don't read anymore because they're too busy with their Wii, MP3, online games, Facebook and MySpace?
Well, maybe, but at least, the world is a large place, and not all children have given up on the printed word yet. And their parents have more spending power, at least until the recent price rises, so books will still find buyers.
So should I write for young people?
My answer is still no. Because there are already many people out there doing a fine job of writing for children, even if they haven't reached J.K. Rowling status yet. No because I want to enjoy myself, and I do that writing thrillers and action stories, not fantasy for young minds. No because I'm not a crass commercial mind, targeting my writing at certain focus groups just to make money.
I want to enjoy myself, I want to write what I feel. And that brings us to the saying every writer hears: write what you know.
But that's for my next entry in this blog.

By Sean Moss for S2S.


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