Saturday, April 3, 2010


As a writer, I've thought about plots that can be somewhat controversial. Many different subject matters can really raise red flags amongst certain types of groups. My question is, does controversy really sell?

Just take a look at the music industry. Big names like Eminem, Ludacris, most rap singers in general, are usually at the top of the charts or at least have been at one time. Their lyrics are explicit, their attitudes are harsh, and it has led them on the fast track to fame.

Does the same happen in the writing industry?

It's hard to say. Some agents don't mind the cuss words and lude conduct in manuscripts. Some do. I guess it's a hit and miss type thing. It also has a lot to do with the audience. What genre would it be appropriate for? New musicians are usually hammering it down for the younger crowd -- the kids who think it's cool to walk around with their pants down to their knees and to say the "f" word in ever sentence they speak.

But then again, if it's controversial, more and more people will be curious about it, even if they don't agree. Politics. Need I say more? Possibly the most controversial thing to discuss with anyone. But think about it. How many liberals listen in on the Rush Limbaugh show? They aren't doing it because they agree.... but they are curious to see what he has to say. How many conservatives still listen in on Obama when he has a presidential address?

In all honesty, I think America thrives on controversy. With all of the different cultures flying around out there, how can it be avoided? It's just an iffy way to hit up the writing market, but if done right, can really get an author that deal with a publisher. It's all how the subject matter is approached.



Some people thrieve on controversy.
We in the UK had the scandal of the Members Of Parliament expenses. Ok the money they claimed came from the tax payers but most people couldn't care less. Then there were the ones who was suppose to be whiter than white running them into the ground. There's a saying "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Enjoyed your write and look forward to "D".
Happy Easter.

Mary McDonald said...

Controversy can cause curiosity (how's that for use of four c words in a row?), but there has to be substance too. Well, unless you're Britney Spears. lol.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Excellent post. I think the more we grow as a world, the less actually becomes controversial. If we don't get stuff out there, it'll never be accepted. I mean, the word 'fuck' is hardly offensive anymore.

Jemi Fraser said...

There is often controversy in writing. Think of the different opinions on the Twilight series and the DaVinci Code series. I think the strong and opposite feeling definitely helped out those authors! Good post :)

arlee bird said...

You bring up a good point here. I think controversy definitely sells because people are curious. However, when authors try to ride on the coattails some might succeed, but will fall flat because that which was once controversy is no longer controversial after it's been done and accepted. Authors who try for this approach are shooting stars-- here for a time to fade into obscurity only to be replaced by the next controversy. Controversy may arouse curiosity, but it rarely turns into anything of lasting consequence unless it has something truly substantial to offer.

AmazingGraceTX said...

If it's contraversial, I tend to stay away from it, to not give it more attention than it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading it :o)