This post, below the Read More button, originally appeared in Katherine Vick's blog. It perfectly fits the values of Thinklings and the reason we got started. (No, we didn't put her up to writing it. :)
The entertainment industry—all areas of it—really does need people willing to take risks on the stories that are less "mainstream," so that more original content can be enjoyed by all, more voices can be heard, and our collective cache of creative works can expand and flourish.
If you agree, spread the word about Thinklings and support us in our mission to give "different" quality books a chance!
Take it away, Katherine....
Brace yourselves. I need a small rant.
When, oh when, did making money become more important than making something original and good?
Yes, I know, it’s a stupid question that probably can’t be answered. But although it’s hard to precisely put one’s finger on the origin, there is no denying it is definitely the dominant way of things in this day and age. I do wonder, sometimes, if there is a finite amount of imagination out there in the world, as people seem so afraid to use it. Or at least, to take a risk.
I remember way back in the day, when I was hunting around for a literary agent, I came across the website for a pair of agents devoted exclusively to sci-fi and fantasy. Given the number out there that specifically state they don’t want sci-fi and fantasy submissions, this was a rare bonus. But as I read through their site, I came across a statement that stopped me in my tracks. They said, openly, in their submission requirements, that they didn’t want anything original. What they were looking for were things along the lines of books currently doing well by popular authors but just different enough. They didn’t want to risk trying to sell a new concept to publishers only interested in something that they can repackage to existing fans.
And they aren’t alone. The triggering factor of writing this blog was the discovery that yet another old film from my youth is going to be remade. It sometimes feels like every other film at the moment is a remake of something well-loved that has gone before – look at the live action versions of Disney animations, for example. But people are curious and nostalgic and want to relive that childhood moment with this new film and look at the money they’re raking in as a result. Why would anyone take a risk on something untried and untested when rehashing something tried and tested is pure financial gold?
And then, there is what happens when something new, an original novel concept, a brilliant, fresh film or TV series, does sneak its head over the parapet and get noticed. The moment it becomes popular, it is, in its way, doomed. Because left, right and centre, all its media contemporaries will pile in, with their own versions that are just different enough until the market is utterly saturated and what started out as something new and fresh is crushed by degrees into the latest cliché. And when everyone is tired of it at last, some new, brave original idea peeks up and round we go again.
It was this, in part, that inspired the creation of Fodder’s Realm, a place where the rehash is so normal that whole families have bred themselves to fit the repetitive nature of the characters required. The same landscapes are reshuffled and replaced, the same locations refitted and reused because why try something new when the same old formula still works? And I’ll be the first to admit there is something comforting and safe in knowing what to expect.
But there is also something sad and something lost about it. We are all missing out. And until someone manages a Fodderesque breakaway from the mundane remakes, seeking to change not just their piece of the puzzle but the whole puzzle itself, nothing is going to alter. Making money is key. Originality will be the special rarity and lack of risk the priority. And that’s a tragedy. The number of brilliant ideas by new writers that must be out there in the world, never to be seen or heard or loved because a publisher or a production company or a studio isn’t sure it’ll make them enough money to risk giving it a try is an awful thought. So much potential enjoyment is being wasted for the fear of losing cash, so many roadblocks stalling talent from flourishing. And all we get instead are the same old things over and over again.
But it never seems to occur to anyone that if more original things were tried rather than simply remaking everything, perhaps we’d all have so much more variety and less clichés, good ideas wouldn’t need to be copied to death, and there would still be plenty of money to go around. Or perhaps it does. But none of them are willing to be the one to give it a try.
So for now, in the world, as we all know, round and round and round we’ll go, recycling the past to make some dough. And no one will ever know what wonders we’ve all missed out on.
My rant is done. You can come out now....