Global & Local Diversity in Books by Henry Lion Oldie
from Ailsa (Bookworm4life) book / literary blog
As to our minds, diversity in books writing subdivides into “global” diversity (in different author’s books) and “local” diversity (in the one author’s book). And from another side, diversity has two different aspects: creative and commercial.
“Global” diversity (in different author’s books)
From the creative point of view, a “global” diversity is good and useful for author. Writing in different literary genres, taking different themes and conflicts, using different original worlds (especially for science fiction, fantasy and their sub-genres), creating different types of characters and different plots, expressing different ideas, using different literary styles and stylizations – leads to author’s literary self-development, professional growth and obtaining a large literary experience.
But from the commercial point of view, a “global” diversity is not good in most cases. Large groups of readers (not all, but many of them) prefer one or two their favorite genre(s). So, fantasy fans mainly will not read a detective story, and science fiction fans mainly will not read a mystical thriller, and etc. When a writer already has a group of his (her) own readers (fans), this group may be lost if a next author’s book will be written in another genre then usually. A publisher’s reject is also very possible in such case. And when you write a book series, you can miss many of your readers if you’ll just write a book in the same genre but in another series (or independent book, out of series). Even well-known and famous bestsellers’ authors have such problem. Just compare the circulations of JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” (any volume) and her “The Casual Vacancy”. It’s only one example of a very large number.
Some exceptions from this rule exist: Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson and China Mieville, for example, write very different books during many years, and almost all their books sales good enough. But there are just exceptions, not rule.
As for us, we completely agree with Cyril Connolly who said: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” But maybe we’re lucky guys: we write what we want (very different books in different genres) and we have our readers and many paper editions (in Russian, Polish, French and some other languages; but we have only eBook editions in English for the time present).
“Local” diversity (in the one author’s book)
According to our writing experience (about 25 years), a diversity in author’s book is good in all meanings. We prefer to write different chapters and fragments in different mood and style corresponding to the events happening in our text. Some fragments may be more serious or more
ironic, contain more suspense or more action, psychology or philosophy, to be more romantic or more brutal, realistic or symbolic and etc. But, of course, all these style and mood differences have to fit into the general conception of the book.
A characters’ development. Characters’ personalities have to change during the book plot development. The change of characters’ personalities and their mutual relations makes them alive and creates an “inside dynamic” of the book. Finally, it makes book of any genre more realistic and interesting than a book with “static” characters.
Unexpected plot turnings, bright metaphors, locations changes, dynamic and introspection fragments changing each other and etc. That’s all is good and useful for any book, as we consider – as from literary point of view, as from commercial one.
You can read other writers' and readers' opinions about diversity in books and books writing in Ailsa's blog: