SUBJECTIVITY

‘The Liar’s Chair’ to buy or not to buy? That’s the problem with subjectivity; one Amazon reviewer claims it’s a ‘clever and disturbing debut novel‘ another ‘I can’t remember reading a novel where there are so many unlikable characters. I think the only one with any redeeming features is Will; and he is a drug-dealer! That’s how bad it is.’

I’m guessing the WordPress community probably consists of amazingly knowledgeable literary types but I’m not one of you guys. I wouldn’t describe myself as well read, I don’t read the broadsheets as often as I should and I didn’t pass any English exams.  So whatever clever point you are screaming at me now, please get over my ignorance and try to consider this issue from my point of view.

I love to read but I’m picky.  Purchasing books is a luxury on my budget so I give novels as much consideration as  I would a new car.  Randomly a book floats across my radar.  In this instance I was reading a tweet posted by Susan Armstrong’s (Conville and Walsh).  It caught my eye because I also love the book’s title and the word ‘twisty’. Next step, check it out on Amazon; good price. Read reviews…oh?

Subjectivity is at the forefront of my mind because my first novel, The Rebirth of Henry Whittle, is currently being considered by literary agents. I expected these Yodas of literature to either completely ignore or dismiss me. Actually they have been kind and encouraging. However the word ‘subjectivity’ is bandied around and it quickly becomes apparent it’s a kind refusal and also an unarguable state. For someone who likes to wrangle a little and champion their point of view I’m impotent, stunned and paralysed. This ‘regular’ word (hasn’t even got a ‘z’ in it) is extremely powerful; I don’t like it any more in fact I’m striking it out of my internal dictionary. It will no longer be mentioned!

Books are like relationships, you have different needs at different times.  If I want a quickie  I might read J.R. Ward, a dead cert – Nicci French, something out of my comfort zone – Georges Bataille, a classic – Jane Austen. To me each one of these writers are equally skilled and talented because they have the ability to take me somewhere that I desire to go and introduce me to someone that I’d like to meet. I’ve read many bestsellers that don’t achieve this  but that has been as much my responsibility as the writer’s because my state of mind and being has affected my relationship with the book.  Yes there are some books that no matter how great everyone proclaims they are you can’t see it: Of Mice and Men and War of the Worlds just don’t do it for me, in any sense.

Regarding The Rebirth of Henry Whittle I’ve received some reject emails and luckily some requests for the full manuscript.  Yes I hope an agent does fall in love with my book followed by a publisher.  Honestly, have I potentially written a best seller? If millions of people share my state of mind and like the people I like, then definitely.

Be happy, T

P.S. This week I am going to buy and read the aforementioned The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney because I’m in the mood for something new.

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