Friday, July 27, 2007

On writing trash

Trash is the wrong word to use btw but it is the common word used to refer to highly successful commercial fiction. Fiction where the story and the ability to give a reader a white knuckle ride of emotion and excitement overrides lush description and clever use of language. The story is king and in my book it is how it should be.

FWIW Dickens wrote trash. He was not considered to be a great writer until sometime in the 1930s, merely a popular one. Jane Austen wrote trash as did the Brontes. Daphne du Maurier wrote trash. An early review of Rebbecca states that this novel would not be long remembered. Agatha Christie was just a mystery writer. There were even complaints about Shakespeare during his time and how he wasted his talent on the more commercially successful plays. The list goes on and on.

Most authors who later are considered to be classic are in their lifetime popular and commercial authors. They are remembered because above all else the story speaks to the readers, through time and space. It is only later that often people realise -- hey these people can actually write, maybe there is a reason... In other words, it takes time to become classic.

I don't know why people curl their lip about commercial fiction. Maybe it is because they enjoy the guilty pleasure that gives people. I am not sure, but you know I love reading trash, and I really enjoy writing it. The alternative is too dismal to think about.


Nell Dixon said...

I'm a self confessed trash reader and writer. I read and write for pleasure not for self improvement or higher educational purposes.

Michelle Styles said...

Trashy novels are wonderful. Popular fiction is great.
I am so pleased you are a fellow believer, Nell.
There is nothing wrong with escapist literature.
What I was surprised with is how recently Dickens became revered.

Phillipa said...

I don't see why popular commercial fiction and more obscure/literary/non-fiction/poetry or any other genre should be mutually exclusive.

Boy am I glad that now I've started writing, I've read a LOT of books, of all sorts and watched a lot of telly/films too. That fund of cultural references is really useful!