Joel and Ethan Coen “Culturally people are used to watching certain kinds of movies, and a lot of movies have genre types as characters, and those are the people you see in movies. They are used to seeing Tom Cruise play Jaaaack Reeeeeacher,” he slurs the name sarcastically, “and the characters are all kind of the same.”
[Joel Coen, interview in the Sunday Times Culture magazine, September 15, 2013]
I worry that we have a tendency today – in film, in literature, in life – of needing to label and pigeon-hole people. Anyone different is odd. Labels and pigeon-holes do not tell a complete picture.
Authors should be free to create their characters, free to let their stories develop without having to discount a story turn that may take it ‘out of genre’. More authors these days are self-publishing where they are free to market themselves as themselves, not as a label put on them by someone else.
I love traditional books, but as more authors do not fit traditional book publishers’ rigid ideas of fiction genre – older heroes, stand-alone books not trilogies or series, not a celebrity name – then we will lose more paper books to e-books. And that makes me sad. I love the smell of books and my Kindle doesn’t smell!
If you agree with Joel and Ethan Coen, perhaps you will agree with:-
Karen Maitland – do your research, then set it aside
Michèle Forbes – I was born there, grew up there, and I felt I had to reconnect with the place
Rachel Cusk – it takes a particular kind of courage to write memoir
‘The Coen Brothers’ by Ian Nathan [UK: Aurum Press]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
On creating unusual characters: I agree with… Joel and Ethan Coen #writing http://wp.me/p5gEM4-xO via @SandraDanby