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The Author and the Founders of Discursivity
I don't want to spend any time on Foucalt or Barthes' theories that the author is merely a function of the text who melts into the many other functions of the text. I am more curious about the idea of the Author as a Founder of discursivity.
Genre and Fields of Discourse
While in mainstream literature, we don't often name a style of text after the founder or primary evangelist of that type of writing, the same is not true within Genre fiction.
In Genre fiction, we talk about the Agatha Christie and the Doyle types of mystery. We refer to Tolkienesque, Lovecraftian, and Roddenberry-like stories and settings. Genre writers often have a pedigree, for example, Lovecraft is said to be a Dunsanian because of the similarity of his early works to those of Lord Dunsany.
Why is this true in genre fiction, while it is not true in mainstream literature?
Genre and Symbolic Schemes
One of the things that differentiates Genre from Mainstream fiction is the conventions of story necessary to fit within in its parameters, and the lens the genre overlays on reality.
Science Fiction, for example, is defined as a story in which the plot would not be possible without the science at its core. Speculative Fiction requires the story be built around the question: "What if realty functioned in a certain way?" or "What if X happened?" The Speculation take the stories out of our mundane world and into a different reality.
More over, Tolkienesque fiction requires a large amount of world building, large powers struggling against each other with a high contrast between good and evil.
Lovecraftian fiction exhibits the problem with genre more than any other. Most fiction in this style has monsters, a strangeness or alienation in the world, and the defeat of the protagonist. What they miss is the cosmosism and general misanthropy of the original, and thus look like poor knock offs.
The point is, these styles of fiction carry with them a world view that colors the nature of story that can be told, the manner in with we expect to discover the world and story, and certain conventions that highlight aspect of the real world through a mythologized lens.
Authors and Creativity
A big part of me feel like the difference between an author and a writer is a combination of whether or not they try to subvert conventions or expand their genre and the amount of success they have in doing it.
I am not sure the appellation can be adopted by the writer. It is more of a title they earn, often posthumously.
I have spent most of my life working on my craft as a writer, and I feel like it is important to understand what all the elements of the craft are, so I know what I should be working of.
It is pretentious to think I could ever start a genre or subgenre, but I love to mashup genres to see what will happen.
While thinking about what elements I as a writer bring to the fiction contrasts with what a reader brings to the story, hopefully, I will be able to craft a better story.
I think every writer should dissect their contribution to the work, and really focus on the elements they can improve. We also need to understand that once the story enters the world, we loose control over how the story will be perceived and experienced.
Social Media and the Idea of the Author
I can't wait to see how social media and the internet will change the nature, effect, and perception of the author.
I have read many books because I met the writer on Twitter or Facebook. I know more about many of the writers I read because of these sites. I am sure it has affected the way I perceive their work, but I cannot quantify how much or in what way yet.
In the past, it was easy to forget the writer when reading a book. Some people will choose to do that, but it will not continue to be that easy to do.
It way seem strange to think that Twitter and Facebook will have an effect of Literary Theory, but it inevitably will.