TCWT Blog Chain: Publish More Books!

I apologise if you’ve noted my absence — the next month or so is exam season, so you probably won’t see me often.

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Yes, ladies, gentlemen, and rebels without a cause — the blog chain is back up and running for business! This month’s theme:

 

What kinds of published books would you like to see more of?

If there’s anything that A-Level maths has taught me, it’s that there are endless possibilities, an infinity of infinities, and an absolute mountain of books that need to be published. Well, maybe it didn’t teach me that last part, but you probably catch my drift — for every book you can find on the shelves, there are a million more that haven’t been written yet, or just haven’t been published yet — may never be published, just because of the genre or ‘kind’ they fit into.

So let’s get back to the question and look at the types of books I would like to see more of — not the ones that haven’t been written, but the ones that we’re not able to read.

  1. Type Number One: Minorities
    I don’t know many figures, but I imagine that much of the world — a majority, even — is part of a minority, whether that be the LGBTQ…etc community, a racial minority, a religious minority, a disability, a mental illness… the list goes on. So why are all our novels (as always, I’m thinking about YA in particular) about a majority character? Why are the minorities, if present at all, side-kicks? And, on the rare occasion that you read a novel with someone of a minority as the protagonist, why is it that they have to ‘get past’ their ‘problem’ in some way? We live in a diversifying culture, so why doesn’t our literature reflect that? Why can’t I pick up a book about a gay black guy battling literal demons from the same shelf as I pick up a book about a young deaf girl who finds it amusing to sign insults at the zombies as she runs away from them? Why do the few books we have about people who are ‘different’ get separated into weird genres specifically down to the orientation/religion/race/disability of the main character? Why can’t we just read books about people?
  2. Type Number Two: Odd
    I’ve read a lot of books in my time, and after a while of reading the same genre, I start to see a pattern — a story arc or character set that I can only presume are what the publishers are most comfortable with and seem like a safe financial bet. If you like familiarity but can’t stand to re-read, this is great. Brilliant. The best thing to ever happen. But in the end, ‘commercially viable’ begins to be a synonym for ‘boring’, and you realise you want something you can’t guess the plot of. It doesn’t even have to be good — you just want change. It’s one of the main reasons that this blog has hardly any book reviews — I just haven’t been reading, and when I have, it’s been boring. The same as ever. I want to be able to go into a bookshop that is so full of weird stuff that it can’t begin to be categorised into ‘fantasy’, ‘contemporary’, ‘romance’, or anything as mundane as that. I want to be overwhelmed by choice and pick a book completely at random, because even the blurb can’t tell me how the story will end. And then I want to read it. And hate it. And go back to that bookshop and try again. I don’t want marketable; I want interesting.

There are probably a thousand other things I want to see in books, but I won’t go on. You’ve probably realised by now why I rambled on about maths at the very start of this post — I want the ‘types’ of books I read to be an infinity of infinities in every possible way. What do I want to see published? Every bit of writing under the sun, and quite a lot more that no one’s yet dared to write.

It’s not much to ask, is it?

Blog Chain Schedule:

May 5th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/

May 6th – http://www.nerdgirlinc.blogspot.com/

May 7th – http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/

May 8th – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

May 9th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

May 10th – http://randomofalife.blogspot.com/

May 11th – https://maralaurey.wordpress.com/

May 12th – http://www.fidaislaih.blogspot.com/

May 13th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

May 14th – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

May 15th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/

May 16th – http://taratherese.wordpress.com/

May 17th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

May 18th – http://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

May 19th – http://afoodyportfolio.wordpress.com/

May 20th – http://magicandwriting.wordpress.com/

May 21st – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

May 22nd – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

May 23rd – http://eighthundredninety.blogspot.com/

May 24th – http://www.oyeahwrite.wordpress.com/

May 25th – http://avonsbabbles.wordpress.com/

May 26th – TheUnsimpleMind – link to come

May 27th – http://thependanttrilogy.wordpress.com/

May 28th – http://www.lilyjenness.blogspot.com/

May 29th – http://sunsandstarsanddreams.wordpress.com/

May 30th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ – We’ll announce the topic for June’s blog chain!

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11 thoughts on “TCWT Blog Chain: Publish More Books!

  1. Good post. I agree– diversity in both characters and plots would be a welcome change from the stereotypical genre fiction. I think what kills any of these types of books, however, is the assumption that they have to have a genre; I’m sure there are paranormal romances that are far more than just people kissing weirdos (such as Daughter of Smoke and Bone– while paranormal, it has so much more), and yet I won’t read them just because they’re marketed toward the Twilight fan club and I don’t go for that. It’s unfortunate that good books must conform in some way.

    Anyway, good post!

    Like

    • Thanks! 🙂
      I agree — if publishers don’t have a tried-and-tested method of marketing, for example calling it the ‘new Twilight’ or putting the words ‘contemporary YA fiction’ on the back cover, they don’t really know what to do with it and so don’t publish it. Which is a shame. I’ve never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone myself, but I’m always hearing such good things about it that I might have to read it myself!

      Like

  2. Interesting post!

    Your comment about the deaf girl who signs at zombies (I don’t really read zombie fiction but that sounds hilariously fun) reminded me of a book I read recently about a deaf girl who becomes the manager of a rock band. (Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John). It was great. I would love to read more books like that.

    Interesting point about odd books. I hadn’t thought about that before, but I heartily agree. Books that flip your head around and surprise you are some of the best.

    Like

  3. I love how you combined mathematics into it, especially because I’m doing a lot of math at the moment.

    I did find genres like “African” or LGBTQ kind of … boxed. I guess the problem is we live in a society of labels.

    Like

  4. I love your first point, and I completely agree. I like the books that feature diverse characters as they are, of course, but I also resent that ALL OF THEM go into that nice contemporary subheading for LGBTQ or Asian or Muslim or disabled people or any host of things. But in reality, I know most people who are diverse in some way don’t identify primarily *as* their diversity. Like you said, they’d more likely be a kickass demon fighter who just so happens to be gay/black/etc.

    I’d love more of that, especially in fantasy and sci-fi.

    (And also, while Christians are obviously not a minority, at least not in the English-speaking world, I totally agree about the way books about Christians only existing as “Christian fiction” sucks. Plenty of Christians are totally normal and don’t hold, say, anti-gay beliefs; they should be portrayed that way in fiction too, since all Christians in mainstream books are either hyper religious or not existent at all. (Same goes for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and so on.))

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting!
      I would love to see more diversity in fantasy and sci-fi too — I’ve seen quite a few posts and articles recently (especially in the Doctor Who fandom) that point out how ridiculous it is to prescribe to today’s social boundaries and beliefs when you’re writing about a future with flying cars or a completely different world with completely different rules. It would be so easy to just throw in some diversity and not have to explain it or make it the focus of the story.
      Christianity is definitely not in the same class as minorities, but I think ‘Christian fiction’ can probably be explained in the same way as other ‘[Insert Minority Here] fiction’ because — in the UK at least — we have such a secular society that religion of any kind, especially vocalised religious beliefs, are looked down on and seen as something to keep to yourself.

      Like

      • Yeah, that’s interesting about the “Christian fiction” thing. In the U.S. we’re definitely trending toward the religion in conversation being looked down upon too (though there is a vocal Christian majority keeping that from happening, in both good and bad ways), but the portrayal of religion in literature is generally pretty poor. I think most authors are afraid of the potential controversy that goes along with it, but I’d REALLY like a book with a totally normal main character who just happens to be religious and where theism does not equal discriminating against other people. There are plenty of people like that in the real world, after all.

        Like

  5. “Why can’t I pick up a book about a gay black guy battling literal demons from the same shelf as I pick up a book about a young deaf girl who finds it amusing to sign insults at the zombies as she runs away from them?”

    THANK YOU. Agreed. (I also got a bit carried away with examples in my post, ha ha.)

    Like

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