A while back I mentioned on this blog that I’m reading through Orson Scott Card’s book, “Characters and Viewpoint.” It’s a fantastic read. I’m taking my time with it and really trying to absorb all of the ideas. (If you’re a fiction writer, I highly recommend getting a hold of a copy.)
I was reading it today and he touched on a subject that I’ve debated with numerous writers before: Should we write popular fiction? Is there really merit in that? Worse still, is it okay to write “just to make money” and please people? If someone does, are they bad writers or bad for doing it?
Here’s a quote from Card’s book, chapter two:
“Our objective as storytellers and writers isn’t to make money – there are faster and easier ways of doing that. Our objective is to change people by putting our stories in their memory; to make the world better by bringing other people face-to-face with reality, or giving them a vision of hope, or whatever other form our truth telling might take. You want the widest possible audience to receive this message; when you use your best skills to open up your story to other readers, you aren’t “pandering to the masses,” you’re freely giving your best gifts. If your stories happen to reach a very wide audience then yes, money will come. But it isn’t the money that makes the work worth doing; too many of us make too little for that to be the motive that pulls us along.”
Well said, Mr. Card.