There’s a debate that seems to lurk around writers, about whether they write for themselves or for their readers. I suspect there’s a balance in between, but boy, some of us come down hard on one side or the other.
I’m not a huge fan of reviews, unless I can learn from them. Regardless of whether or not I’m interested in--or will ever pick up--the book, at least I’ve learned something. Walter Kirn of the NY Times has outdone himself this time, comparing sex and writing.
All novels end, but not all novels climax. That’s fine. Here’s to subtlety and uncertainty. But there is another type of ending that delivers pure humiliation by letting the author climax but not the reader. That’s partly because such endings are predictable but mostly because the foreplay leading up to them is so prolonged, insensitive and strenuous that most readers will feel too drained to spasm by the time the writer needs them to.
Or maybe I just like comparing art and sex. Spent a good part of my time in conservatory comparing music and sex, LOL.
I’ll have to take a gander at the book, but Kirn’s point is definitely something to keep in mind while writing. And there’s another check on the "for the reader" side of the debate.
What do you think? And which side of the debate do you come down on?