Friday, October 6, 2017

Class Differences in Writing

I read an interesting article today that got me thinking about various writing relating topics. One of them was the idea of class pervading literature in ways we often don't even consider. I had thought of class in literature, especially when thinking about major prizes, which almost always overlook all genre fiction. But what about within genre fiction itself? Is there still a class divide?

If there is it must be subtle, but I do think it may be there to a degree. The huge successes of writers who grew up poor or middle class, say Stephen King or JK Rowling, can make it seem absurd to even consider a class divide in genre fiction.

But I was struck in the article by the author's points about not relating to characters in what he had been reading. I feel that way very often in the genre fiction I read (though admittedly not in King or Rowling). Too often the characters are nobles or some form of warrior who is about the best in the world at what they do. What I always wanted to read about were people like me stuck in extraordinary circumstances and forced to sink or swim.

So that's what I write. My characters are ordinary people. They are an ugly sixty-something mute, or a fisherman's son who got lucky enough to marry a nobleman's daughter but is looked down upon for rising above his station. One is a hard working young Russian woman just trying to get by in a crumbling world. Another is an ex-addict with low self-esteem despairing of the world and only doing something because his dead father is egging him on. I realize when I write such characters that I may lose out on the entire readership that enjoys the higher level characters of princes and superheroes, but I can't help but want to write about what feels real to me. I want ordinary people who have to fight and claw their way to survival.
Anyway, I am so looking forward to seeing the new Blade Runner movie this weekend. I consider the original to be the best movie ever made (especially the Final Cut version). Anyone else going to see it this weekend?