Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, January 18, 2010

Would You Rather?

Every Christmas, my kids know what to buy me. Games. I love games. I have a closet full of them and yet I’m always looking for more. One of the new games this year is called, Would You Rather? The idea is that you try to guess which of two (usually bad or embarrassing, but sometimes good in an odd way) things the rest of the players would pick, if they had to. For example: Would you rather have bottles stuck on all the fingers of one hand for a month, or have your foot stuck in a bucket for a month? Would you rather have a head twice the normal size or half the normal size? Would you rather age only from the neck up or the neck down?

The best questions are the ones where the two choices are so close in good or bad effects that it’s really hard to decide. It’s funny how you can think one choice is a no brainer, while another person thinks exactly the opposite. It helps you see how the people around you think. Is having a great body more important than a great face? Would you rather be able to run a marathon when you are 100 or write a great book? Fun stuff, and sometimes thought-provoking.

So in honor of the writing awards announced this morning, I thought I’d try some writing “Would You Rather” questions today and see how you all think. Remember, this is not a, b, or neither. The question is, if you had to choose between one or the other, which would you pick. Here we go.

Would you rather:
1) Get a huge advance on your next book but have it be shredded by the book critics, or make almost no money on the book (even after the awards were announced), but receive top awards?

2) Write a book adored by millions of readers you don’t know, but despised by your friends and family, or write a book your friends and family love, but everyone else hates?

3) Have your book made into a big budget film with lots of publicity and stars, that bombs, or not have your book made into a movie at all?

4) Only be able to write in a genre you don’t enjoy but sells like crazy, or write what you love but always sell poorly.

5) Get the agent of your dreams, knowing they are only lukewarm on your project, or a so-so agent who LOVES your manuscript?

6) Publish only one book, but have it be a classic, or publish dozens of mid-listers?

7) Write books that are very slow reading, but extremely thought-provoking, or quick reads that make people laugh and cry?

8) Sign a contract that guarantees $75k a year for the next twenty years, or an all of nothing deal that has a 50/50 chance of paying out nothing or twenty million?

9) Publish a book that in a genre that is all the rage right now, or one that breaks new ground?

10) Publish amazing books that everyone loves, but never read another book, or read the best books for the rest of your life, but never publish a thing?

What do you pick and why? I’ll tell you my picks after I’ve heard from you.

And just for fun, and because I didn’t realize it until recently, can any of you name the famous rock song that is about writer’s block?


At 1/18/2010 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post Jeff. Your questions are the produce of either a genius or a sick mind. Would you rather be thought of as a genius by millions of people but really only have a modest IQ. Or would you like to have the IQ of a genius but be considered dumb by family, friends and everyone else?

May answer to your questions is:

1. I already have my fortune, but I would choose even more money. I don't know any critics I like. Except for maybe Jennie.

2. My friends and family already despise me so I pick a million fans for sure.

3. Take the big budget film everytime. If it bombs, you still get paid. Right?

4. I'll take the sells like crazy. I can write the stuff I enjoy and send it to myself.

5. I take Mr. Lukewarm. He's probably been around the block more times than Mrs. Loves-my-book. I get a realisic view of things, and a better chance at making it. Right?

6. One book. That sounds so much easier.

7. Slow reading. Thought provoking.

8. Risk it all on one turn at pitch and toss. For sure. And then I only have to write one book instead of one book every year. Wahoo. Am I lazy?

9. Break new ground.

10. Publish amazing books that everyone loves and never read another book. That would be awesome. I don't think I've ever read a book in my life anyway. And I can read my own while I'm writing it. Does that count?

At 1/18/2010 3:13 PM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

Thanks, Anon! I'd have to go with the real genius IQ. I'm all for appearances. But there is something to be said for underpromising and overdelivering.

At 1/18/2010 4:04 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

1. Huge advance pays the bills!

My wife thinks I should be writing this great work of literature, but, personally, I'd be happy if readers just couldn't put my book down.

(Would you rather be feared or loved?)

At 1/18/2010 5:24 PM, Anonymous Jordan said...

1) Make almost no money, but win awards. Next book, they'll give me a better advance. Bad reviews can mean no next book.

2) Millions I don't know. My family would probably be getting free copies from me anyway. (Not after that of course ;) .)

3) No movie. Wouldn't want to sour potential readers.

4) Oooh, this one is hard. Write what I love. At least it'd be published. (Once.)

5) Tough, but I'd go for the one that loves the project. I think.

6) Uh . . . classic, I think.

7) Um . . . I guess the thought-provoking. Thankfully this isn't always an either-or IRL.

8) I guess the $75k/yr.

9) Breaks new ground, though I don't suppose I have a huge preference.

10) And this one, I'll have to take a cop out on. Well . . . I guess my life wouldn't actually change at all if I never got published and just got to read books. So I suppose I could continue to live with that. If I had to.

At 1/19/2010 1:22 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

1. I'd rather receive top awards for my next book rather than get a huge advance and have it be shredded by reviewers.

2. Write a book that millions of other people love, but is despised by my family and friends.

3. Not have my book made into a movie at all. I couldn't stand it if the movie bombed.

4. Write in a genre I love, even if it sells poorly, because I just can't imagine writing in a genre that I hate.

5. A so-so agent that just LOVES my manuscript.

6. Dozens of mid-listers. It would bring in a bit of money, I think, and not make people groan that they have to read my one single classic in school.

7. Quick reads that make people laugh and cry. Slow reads tend to turn people off.

9. I'd love to break new ground with a book, rather than following the crowd and publishing the xth supernatural romance or whatever all the rage is right now.

10. Ooh, dear, this is a tricky one. I don't know if I could exist without reading ... but on the other hand, I want people to read my books, too. Maybe I should choose the option of reading the best books, and hope that my scribblings are published after my death?

And the rock song that describes writer's block? Um ... REM's "It's The End of the World (As We Know It)"?

Nah. Can't be. I don't know.

At 1/19/2010 1:25 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Ooops, I forgot number eight!

8. I'd sign the contract for 75K a year for twenty years.

At 1/19/2010 10:50 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

1) I’d rather receive the awards.

2) I’ll take the book that’s adored by millions; very few in my family read my books anyway.

3) I’ll take the movie that bombs. Movies are never as good as the book anyway. And so that I could get the money in movie-options that I never earned in sales and console myself that the book was at least an award-winner (see #1)

4) I’d continue writing what I love, but only if I could still have a great publisher.

5) If a so-so agent loves the manuscript, then the publisher probably will too. And the agent will work that much harder.

6) I’d take the dozens of mid-listers because those one-hit classics are sad tales—the authors never wrote again. That would be sad for me.

7) I don’t like reading slow-reading books very much, so I hope I don’t write one.

8) Definitely the $75k. I’m only a risk-taker to a certain degree. And I don’t really believe in the million dollar promises. Heard too many of them, and none of them have delivered.

9) Publish a book that breaks NEW ground. 100%!

10) As much as I love reading, I love writing just a tad more.

At 1/19/2010 5:45 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

And this is why man is not meant to know the future. I'm so much happier not knowing. =D

At 1/24/2010 7:21 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

I've played that game, it's fun. It's kind of like something my husband likes to ask me. He says "For a million dollars would you...." For example, "For a million dollars would you knock on all the doors on our street and tell the people that you love them?" or "For a million dollars would you go bungee jumping?" (he knows my fear of heights). It's a fun little thing we do. I like to think up things for him, because he is way more brave than I am.


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