This is probably something I shouldn’t be saying ever, much less a month and a half before it’s released, but The Slayer Saga: Soulless is not a great book, not by a long shot. Nor will it be. It would take years of editing and revamping and revisions before it even gets close to greatness, and I’ve given myself a mere month. And you know what? That’s okay. The whole point of Soulless was not to reach literary excellence; it was to tell a story I thought was mildly interesting, make it even more interesting than it was originally, and to share it with the world. It was to get some more books out there so I have more than just a collection of short stories to tie my name to. It was to give myself more experience with publishing my own books and learn more about marketing techniques that I missed the boat on when I released Bowlful of Bunnies.
And that’s okay. Not every book we write is going to be epic and amazing. Furthermore, even if we do manage to write a book that someone thinks is an incredible example of everything they love in fiction, someone else is going to think it’s the worst thing they ever had the misfortune of laying their eyes on. This is something I’ve been grappling with this last week, as I’ve sunk into a little bit of a funk from trying to insert some scenes and juggle some of my beta critiques with my personal gut feelings. It’s getting a little repetitive, but I have to keep saying it until I fully believe it: Soulless is not the best, and that’s okay. Soulless is not the best, and that’s okay.
Soulless is, however, pretty damn entertaining. I know for a fact that it has that going for it. I’ve been validated in that it’s a unique concept, an interesting world, and some of the characters are pretty stand-out. It’s a solid book, if not a fantastic book. It has some issues, it’s definitely not going to be for everyone, but sometimes, you’ve just got to let go of all that hoity-toity stuff and delve into some mediocre fiction, anyway. It’s meant to be pulpy and kind of cheesy and over-the-top. It probably won’t leave enough of a lasting impression on you to allow you to easily pick it out of a line-up of similar books. Just the fact that there are probably so many other books out there that are share its lower quality is a point against it, but that’s kind of what I like about it. Sometimes, you just want a book that tells a good story in a pretty okay way, like a cheesy movie or a campy TV show.
Should we strive for something more than just a good story told in a pretty okay way? Of course we should. But I have other books planned for that. I never set out with the intention of making Soulless great literature, and that’s okay. All I want is for you to be entertained. It’s also perfectly fitting that I just got a follow from The Books that Time Forgot, which I eagerly followed back, as the blog reviews the types of books that I want The Slayer Saga to become, rare gems of kitsch and novelty that works its way into very select and amazing hearts.
What do you think? Do you think there’s a good case for mediocre fiction? Or should we not waste our time and only strive to put out the best of the best? What’s an example of a kitschy kind of book that you absolutely love? For me, the first thing to come to mind are the Magic: the Gathering books or Piers Anthony’s Adept series. They’re bad…really bad…but I just freaking love them for all their absurdity. I can’t be the only one out there who loves me some good, honest pulp.
(I also really love pulp in my orange juice…I’m a little curious as to where you all stand on that, too, randomly.)