Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Story Is A Story Is A Story

The Language of Defeat, an essay of common sense by Jeff Vandermeer, is up at Clarkesworld Magazine. Here's a quote:

"I would like to see all writers make a better effort to see the work of their fellows with eyes unfettered by received ideas as conveyed through whatever label has been slapped on a particular book or author. If we wrote fiction the way we talk about genre and mainstream most of the time, we would all be hacks, our prose full of the most crass and belabored cliches. Yet we persist in outdated, dangerous generalizations, and allow them to color our perceptions of reality. We refuse to engage with the individual in front of us, to communicate, and instead create badly-made fictions about them."

Leave the labels to the publishers and booksellers, in other words. We need those labels so that we can organize our wares in some semblance of order, albeit an imperfect one, so as to make things easier to find. But when you write fiction, worry about the story. When you read fiction, involve yourself in the story. Quiet your mind when it insists on labeling the story and thus, prejudicing what you expect of it. Be open, and chances are, it'll be a more rewarding experience for you.


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