On Writing as Entertainment

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Today’s guest post is by L. E. Harvey, author of “Loving Her,” “Unbreakable Hostage” and “Imperfect.” Lauren posts articles about writing and related joys on her blog “The writings & ramblings of a Philadelphian.”

On Writing as Entertainment

I recently caught a co-worker reading a well-known author’s book. Like any good writer, I asked her if she was an avid reader. She told me she was. My excitement level sky-rocketed. It was when I asked her what her favorite genre was, though, that I was surprised by her answer: smutty romances. The smuttier the better, in fact.

Now, she did have a point in the fact that we work at an intense, high-paced practice and that as medical professionals we deal with death, heart-break and the like. She wants to escape from reality and not think. She wants entertainment.

That caused me to think. As a writer, I’ll admit that I have never considered my books as entertainment. There was always a social or political purpose to them. No escapism here. So now, who is better: the famous author whose work is strictly mind-less entertainment or me, the no-name who writes with the purpose of making people think?

Can you really compare apples to oranges?

Not in my world.

Every writer, ever genre has its place. There is nothing wrong with any genre, nor is one genre better than another. Though not comparable, they are all equal.

I will admit that my bubble had been burst when my co-worker informed me of her lust for entertainment. This person in particular is someone who I would love to have read Imperfect. She still might. I am an optimist, after all.

So what does this mean to me? Do I abandon my genre and personal writing style to simply entertain?

No.

Do I write books and stories that are simply cerebral?

No.

Balancing Purpose and Entertainment

A good writer finds a balance between purpose and entertainment. I may not be there, but it is a good goal; something for which I will continue to strive.

At the same time, I cannot and will not dismiss my works thus far.

Imperfect is very emotional and thought-provoking. It is entertaining too. You can’t tell me that driving a muscle car on a perfect summer day, cranking out the classic rock music isn’t entertaining.

By all accounts, I’m a realist: my writing background is in historical and scientific non-fiction (not to mention the fact that I work in a scientific/medical field). Boring, I know. Black and white. Factual. Not entertaining. I am, however, coming around. Imperfect is my first full-length novel I ever attempted to write. The facts and reality may be in there, but there are definitely elements of entertainment as well.

My bottom line: the truth is, ALL stories are entertaining. My book is just as much a form of entertainment as that famous author’s book. It may not be smut, but it is definitely a story you can get swept into.

Celebrating Earth Day 2011

Lauren’s “A Summer of Butterflies” appears in Celebrating Earth Day 2011 from Vanilla Heart Publishing. Click on the book cover to download a PDF copy of this FREE GIFT from the Giveaway Anthology page at PayLoadz.

The book includes the work of Anne K. Albert, Charmaine Gordon, Chelle Cordero, L.E. Harvey, Malcolm R. Campbell, Marilyn Celeste Morris, Melinda Clayton, Robert Hays, S.R. Claridge, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, Victoria Howard and Vila SpiderHawk.

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6 responses

  1. Great post, Lauren, and I know exactly what you mean. I only have the one book published, with a sequel about 2/3 finished, and I constantly question myself, “Is this too serious? Is it too dark?” But it’s what I’m drawn to write.

  2. Exactly, “All stories are entertaining.”
    How entertaining they are depends on who you are.
    I do enjoy a good, smutty bodice ripper, but I’d much rather read a dark, twisted fantasy that makes me think.
    Everyone reads for entertainment. That’s why there are so many genres.

  3. Thank you all for the great comments!

    Melinda, you’re drawn to writing that way for a reason. There are plenty of readers out there who want to read that genre (myself included) versus smut. 🙂

    Montucky, glad you liked it! Thanks! 🙂

    C. LaVielle, I agree. I don’t read one genre across the board, and I think all readers should open themselves to new genres as different forms of entertainment. Is a tear-jerker movie any less entertaining than an action-packed thriller? I don’t think so! The same goes for books. 🙂

    Thanks again, everyone! Happy reading to you all!

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