Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Tale of Tom

By Sariah S. Wilson

In my post last week, a reader with the screen name Oshee commented that they liked how I was positive and happy even when I was worrying about something. It got me thinking (and perhaps I’m wrong) but that given the response Oshee had to me as a person, I wondered if it would affect whether or not they would pick my book up when it came out.

I am wondering this because lately I’m finding that the personal reaction I have to writers and celebrities does affect whether or not I’ll buy their product.

Take Tom Cruise for example. I never thought much of him one way or the other - although I did think it was pretty terrible the way he left Nicole Kidman to date someone else - but with his recent in-your-face views on Scientology, taking medicine, having a baby that he promptly abandoned to promote his movie, jumping on couches and everything else crazy he’s done the last few months, I can’t bear to watch him. I don’t want to hear his voice, I don’t want to read articles about him. I want him to go away.

So I haven’t seen “Mission Impossible III” and I have no intention to. I know the critics say it’s the best in the trilogy and I love the writer/director JJ Abrams and supporting cast (particularly Keri Russell and Philip Seymour Hoffman), but I can’t take two and a half hours of Tom Cruise. I read in Entertainment Weekly that I’m not alone - this movie has performed way under expectations and in one screening there is a scene where Tom Cruise’s character gets pummeled by the bad guy. They said the audience applauded. When the audience is applauding your hero getting beat down, you have to know something’s not right there.

I’ve voted with my money, and USA Today reported that many others are as well. It says:

In the poll of 1,013 adults conducted over the weekend the film opened in theaters, 35 percent had a favorable opinion of Cruise, while 51 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

That’s a major turnaround from last year when Cruise's previous film, “War of the Worlds,” opened and his poll ratings were 58 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.

The kind of people we are will affect the kind of work we put out. Tom Cruise hid behind a façade of normalcy for many years, but eventually his true self came out and I think he’s probably a little surprised that nobody likes it.

As writers, our true selves are bound to emerge. I spoke to an agent at an RWA conference who said that the kind of person you are will always come through to your reading audience. If you’re a diva with impossible demands, or a flake who can’t meet deadlines, or a jerk who treats your editor like garbage, it will affect your writing career and somehow the readers pick up on it as well. She said it’s why she’s very picky in what clients she takes on because the writing itself is not enough. She has to like the author as a person.

People also have very long memories when they think they’ve been slighted. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is in this industry to always be a consummate professional. You can’t have bad days at a book signing. You can’t yell at your editor because they changed something you loved. You can’t write an agent a letter telling them what a moron they are for not recognizing your obvious genius.

Because if you don’t take this all seriously, no one will take you seriously. Especially the readers.


At 5/22/2006 2:06 AM, Blogger oshee said...

Wow..I feel like a celebrity. I've been quoted!
Now, to the topic of your essay. Yes, it makes a difference that of the writers I read here, I find myself relating most to you. When the opportunity comes for me to purchase my next selection of LDS fiction, I am going to remember that. I am actually looking forward to reading your work. (and this oshee is a woman..:-D)

At 5/22/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger annegb said...

I feel the same way.

I think when they come out so vocally it can be a rejection of people who don't agree with them, and they aren't as likeable, or watchable or whatever.

At 5/26/2006 10:50 AM, Blogger G.Ellen said...

I sooo agree with you. WE only watched it because we got to for free, but I have to say, I didn't really want to, and I do not intend to buy it. We have the first two at home, but this one is violent? Can't put a finger on it. About the best thing is he actually MARRIES the girl... did I say that out loud?? ;)

Too bad he hadn't in real life...

Good blog!

At 5/27/2006 5:55 PM, Anonymous rakrose said...

I have to say I never got the Tom Cruise craze in the first place. I was a teen when Risky Business came out. I never saw it, but all my friends were going nuts over him. I just didn't get what the big deal was. But I did kind of like Minority Report.

Anyway, Sariah, I keep clicking on the link to your site to find it's still under construction. That's fine. No pressure on you to get it up faster than you're ready. But when it is ready, will you post a formal announcement here so we can all go take a peek?


Post a Comment

<< Home