For #Writer Wednesday, we will feature an interview with author Deb Lauman. It should be fun, so stay tuned.
I am also in the midst of an unscientific survey to determine who are the Top 100 writers in history. I’ve pulled information from a number of places: critical analysis of novelists, assessments of writers, poets, and playwrights, estimates of publishing revenue, views of the top Novels of all time, etc. My concept is that if you truly want to place writers in some sort of ordered context, you certainly have to consider both their place in literary history (thus the critics’ survey) and their popularity. I think a book that a consensus of critics love, but readers find unreadable should be placed lower than a writer who is loved by critics and readers alike. Not all of the world’s voracious readers care a nit about great literature. They are looking for entertainment.
The truly gifted writers can do both things well.
There are no prejudices for genre in my survey. I include children’s authors, foreign novelists, playwrights, and poets alike. I must admit that poets are at something of a disadvantage, as there is no objective means of determining the marketability of poetry. But perhaps that is how it should be. Maybe one can make the case that a good novelist tops a great poet, simply because far more people wish to read the novelist’s work. We’ll see. I’m still playing with the algorithms.
I’m also throwing in a few points for longetivity. Shouldn’t a book still being read from 1821 be given more credit than a book that’s only been in the public eye for a few years? For example, the consensus on the Twilight books is increasingly that they are not a true “fantasy” series, but a romance series. As trends change, views of what is considered to be quality certainly changes. Many Sci-fi/fantasy fans deride the books, while romance fans buythem in droves. Who is right?
I hope to have this done by Friday. We’ll see. Hopefully, it will stimulate conversation. Remember, this won’t be my list – only the methodology and weighting are mine.
Tune in when it’s posted, so you can tell me how wrong I am.