author C.C.Cole's blog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Wordsmiths and Entertainment

We new authors have in common with other creative people learning difficult industries to break in to and get noticed through our work. As difficult as it is, sometimes I feel blessed not to be in the music industry.
Kurt Cobain
I find the life of Kurt Cobain tragic, as I do the loss of anyone so young and troubled, need not be the life of a famous person.  As a life long head-banger (less so with the migraines these days), I admit I enjoyed his music also.  Like I stated before in my article “On the Lives of Writers” there are the author’s life and his/her work.  I’d prefer to remember Kurt for where he placed his passion:  His work.  Below, from his landmark song and video “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

With the lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My Libido

Elton John
Now let’s change to Elton John, another artist, still living, whose lyrics by his collaborator Bernie Taupin created a timeless classic with “Your Song:”

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

As it appears that I’m moving back to the music industry to compare the writing industry, hear (read) me out.  Remember John Locke’s mega-seller about the importance of entertaining books?   He made a profound point.  As new authors, stringing together our words into mesmerizing elegance is  at risk of losing what we have to offer:  Entertainment.   While both of the above work is considered entertaining, the styles couldn’t have been more different.  Kurt’s song brought out the rebellious part of us with unconventional, but fun lyrics, while Elton John (not forgetting Taupin) gave us a moving, beautiful song to remember always.

As I read the old classics (currently on the original “Frankenstein” and “Dracula”), what I see is eloquent, but laborious writing.  Some of it is a sign of the times and the changing writing industry.  While I marvel at these old foundations for dark fantasy, what I also see it that entertainment is making or breaks for the new author in fiction.  Yes, some of us are “junior writers” but even the most sophisticated authors need to entertain the reader.  And when a writer can go both, that's by far the goal of all authors of fiction.

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