Monday, July 25, 2011
Motivational Monday - being the odd one out
"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it's OK to be different, that it's good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color." ~Johnny Depp
Last week, an editor asked twitter about verse novels. "Do you feel there's a love-em-or-hate-em attitude about verse novels? Do you love 'em? Hate 'em? Why?"
I sat back and watched the responses, searching on the editor's name to see what people said. I'm going to leave the names off, but I'll identify the profession of the person.
"I've never met one I liked. They're hard to get into." ~Author
"It only works if it's brilliant, like Virginia Euwer Wolf, Sharon Creech, etc." ~Agent
"I am not a fan of verse novels. It feels more gimmick than substance, though I know there are exceptions out there." ~Agent
"Neither love nor hate. More 'don't get it.'" ~Agent
"I usually stop within a few pages. I'm sure there are good ones out there, but I don't have patience to get into them." ~Freelance writer and editor
"Most of the time they're filled with poor 'verse' and there's no reason for the form." ~Writer and educator
I suppose I am a glutton for punishment. What did I expect? I go through this with every book - I am reminded how hard it is to do something different. To put yourself out there with a book that isn't something the majority of the people can get into.
I wish someone had said SOMETHING completely positive. "They're great for reluctant readers." Or "obviously Ellen Hopkins has shown us that many teens love them." Or even, "I don't like them, but I think it's great to have various choices on the shelves for different kinds of readers."
When I talk to middle schoolers and high schoolers, I tell them, I write books that are different. I say, what I want you to know is that it's okay to be different. It's not always easy. But it's definitely okay.
Still, it's times like this that I'm reminded how hard it really can be, to stick your neck out there and do something that isn't universally accepted. So to those of you who, like me, often feel like the odd one out, I just want you to know, I admire you. I know there are days it's really hard to hear the criticism. To wonder if what you're doing is different like The Beatles were different or different like Charlie Sheen is different.
Friday night, Casey at The Bookish Type blog sent me an e-mail, letting me know she read THE DAY BEFORE and loved it and wondered if I'd be up for an interview. I try not to read a lot of reviews, but she said, "Here's my 5 star review" and provided the link, so I clicked over. It's such a thoughtful and articulate review, I want to share it here. The line I especially love? "I honestly didn't think I could read an entire novel written in verse, but by the second or third page, I'd completely forgotten about the style and was engrossed in Lisa Schroeder's tale."
That's what I like to hear.