The Works of a Writer
Being a writer, my mind wanders a lot. Many times, I write about things that are non-existent or about people that are non-existent–I have the right to do that, it’s part of what I do. But what happens when that gets criticized?
There was a discussion today amongst my peers over James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces”. Now I do not know the details of the controversy–all I know is that he appeared on Oprah and it did not go well. The argument that I made was that as a writer, he has a right to fictionalize his stories, but, instead of labeling it as a non-fictional novel, he could’ve labeled it as a work of fiction. But then again, does he really have a say in it or is that the publisher’s choice?
Similarly, in other discussion, similarly enough, about Rap music, Hip-Hop and Rap artists admitted that they have to sing the stuff that sells. This happens to be misogynistic lyrics with severe violence. The artists claim that they could sing about freedom (from racial oppression) or fighting for more rights but that won’t sell.
I wonder if this is similar in the literary world at all. Do writers have to write stories that will sell and label them accordingly? Or do they have more choices?
All this once again addresses freedom. Does it really exist? Or does it exist based on the situation–as in, you have the freedom to write or sing, but it must be something that will sell and make everyone involved a lot of money.