RARA-AVIS: Re: The "Average" Reader, and What Should Be Done to Them

From: Kat Richardson ( kathyr136@comcast.net)
Date: 15 Nov 2007

I agree that "writing down" is a bad idea. Writers should be striving, writing "smart," and writing better with each book if possible (or teleplay or screenplay or essay or what have you.) We bemoan the reading levels, numbers, and enthusiasm of our nation but if we don't give them better stuff, they don't become better readers
(or more sophisticated, demanding audiences for any medim of fiction or fact.)

But, I'm not entirely sure how smart or willing the "average" reader is to stick with more demanding prose. I'm occasionally surprised at how thick some readers can be. I get some damned odd notes from readers and Amazon reviewers that effectively say I'm too "difficult" a writer for them or not clear enough while I think I'm about as sophisticate as my old Sixth Grade primers and as subtle as a platinum plated brick through a plate glass window. But on the whole, I'd rather be writing for the readers who want more sophisticated, challenging material than is found in the average TV sitcom. And I'd rather be reading smarter material most of the time (not all the time: brain popcorn is occasionally required.)

Who is this damned "average reader" anyway? Has someone got a stuffed one under glass somewhere I could look at?

Kat Richardson

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote: > > > Mark wrote: > > > I think entertainment per se is over-rated; being entertained is a > > pretty > > passive activity. I think more highly of engagement. > > Hmmm.... speaking of which, David "The Wire" Simon has been spouting > off a rather memorable one-liner about that very subject in various > places, regarding writing fiction. > > "Fuck the average reader." > > I might think he was just being arrogant, except THE WIRE is just so > damn good. Yeah, it demands a little intelligence and patience from > its viewers, but the effort is definitely worth it. I think I like > the idea that art (whatever THAT is) asks us to reach a little. > That's probably preferable to being pandered to. And ultimately more > rewarding. > > I should also point out Simon's not defending some sort of elitist, > three people on the planet can understand it point-of-view. Quite the > opposite, actually -- rather he seems to be saying not to write down > to people, and that maybe "average readers" are smarter than they're > given credit for. > > But that's my interpretation. > > The ghost of Mickey Spillane, who proudly boasted he couldn't spell > "cognac" and called his readers "customers" might differ. > > Kevin Burton Smith > Thrilling Detective Web Site Fall 2007 Issue > New fiction from Helms, Blackmoore, Alexander, Harwood and SPILLANE! > >

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