We regularly share articles and reviews about Coliloquy and our authors, both on our blog and twitter, mostly because we’ve been so excited and overwhelmed by the positive responses. This morning, however, we got our first negative article. From Canada, no less! Aren’t they supposed to be nice?!
More seriously, the reporter raises a misperception that is pretty common among people who haven’t spoken with us or our authors. Namely, that we advocate “novels by committee” and are cheapening the art form, when our goal is quite the opposite. Our authors retain complete control over what they write and where their stories go. We just give them extra feedback from readers. It’s nothing different from reading fan mail, reviews, message boards or twitter hashtags, except that it is more equitable–every opinion is aggregated, not just the most vociferous ones.
Yes, an author may choose to enhance a character’s story line (like Stephanie Meyers did with Jacob in Twilight) or change an ending (like Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop), but others simply use the feedback to help hone their own storytelling techniques.
And storytelling is the key here–the most natural form of storytelling is practiced by each and every one of us on a daily basis, as we orally share stories with each other. And do we just close our eyes and tell those stories in a monotone? No. We use inflection and gestures to enhance the message, we listen for laughter, sorrow, or other emotions, and we look for visual clues to see how the audience is responding…all so that we can adjust our delivery accordingly.
My point is that a static book format isn’t always the right medium for a story. Do I believe that brilliance can come from an isolated genius? Of course. But more common is the storyteller who refines over time. And the audience who wants to feel connected.
My final note is the irony of her obviously negative view of readers: “No doubt, the Coliloquy’s reader panel would have advised Kafka to make the protagonist a lovely butterfly. or better yet, a winsome pool-boy with a striking physique.” Really? It’s simply offensive.
Why do we read? To feel. To think.
Just because Tawna Fenske makes me laugh does not mean she is not an artist. She just isn’t Kafka. And thank goodness for that! I read an enormous amount of nonfiction, but there are days I just want candy. And I want the good kind. The Tawna kind.
We’ll be debuting additional titles across all types of genres over the next year, everything from scandalously innovative erotica to what Ms. Chamberlain would so haughtily call “high brow” literature. Some of those books have choices. Others play with your expectations about memory, form, and function. And still others…well, surprise is just as good as laughter, no?
But in all cases, each and every one of those stories has been meticulously loved and crafted by our wonderful authors and editors, to whom we owe the deepest gratitude and respect.