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Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Write A novel in the age of multimedia options?

Why write a novel when nobody reads and has the option to switch to a movie or a TV show?  I know people do prefer reading sometimes,  but in talking to friends and family the people who read novels falls to a few fingers on my left hand. Women read. They read lots of fiction. Men don't seem to read much of anything and I suspect that with the improving accessibility of devices like my Kindle Fire HD where I fell asleep after watching China Town on Net  Flicks after my brain tired from reading a novel, that a new form of competition is now encroaching the once hallowed ground of the printed if not digital page.

It is as if someone stuck a television inside your book and flashed episodes of Modern Family or Sunset Boulevard in the corner of your eye while you were reading War and Peace. Who do you think is going to win that one? And you cannot blame your mind for starting to wander and going for a spin around the net between chapters or picking up your email or the shot between the eyes...starting The Graduate or The Big Lebowski just to see what it looks like in your HD Screen.

And so you look at that landscape and think to yourself...if the novel is not dead it is certainly changing form by being part of a multimedia package. It is now one with the movie or the television episode as easily accessible as opening a book. And maybe more since you can be anywhere that has a hot spot and pull down a movie or a show or a book. And for the serious novelist who actually takes a stab at literature  this is even more of a downer. Diehard or Mozart? Hmmm

So back to the original question. Can the novelist and the novel survive this onslaught? I would say yes. Reading might ride piggyback on a movie or a show, but it is still there in the carousel as an option. And people tire of the light entertainment at a point and they do reach for something heavier. Maybe not everybody, but readers crave books like junkies crave smack. So I suppose I answer my question of why write a novel with the easy comeback...why not?

Why not write if not for the few, and maybe even the many. There is room for everyone on the carousel. Even Bruce Willis and Tolstoy.

Books by William Hazelgrove