As a non-fiction literary form, the essay is sometimes left out when we consider literature–fiction, drama and poetry seem to get the bulk of attention. But the essay is a well-developed and commonly used form, and I’ve even heard claims (can’t remember where at the moment) that Mormons excel at the essay.
So what makes it different than other forms? Is there something about the essay that is more appealing or more conducive to Mormon thought? The following article might answer these questions to some degree.
While we’ve read other commentaries on what books we should choose to read (for example, George Reynolds on “outside literature”), Wells has some interesting insights into the question, and is, perhaps, the most mild advice from this period that I have read. Instead of prohibiting “light literature,” he optimistically suggests that reading enough literature will itself lead to better choices: “Let us, therefore, make friends of our books, and carefully peruse them for the good they will do us; this will lead us to judicious selections.”
In addition, Wells’ discussion of fiction is so reasonable, that I now assume that the attitude comes from the same attitude many have today when they look at genre fiction–especially the bodice ripper. But even here, Wells doesn’t oppose fiction completely: “We do not wish to oppose too strenuously the reading of light literature, it often presents most faithfully true pictures of life. But we are opposed to making it our principal intellectual food.”
LDS publisher Windriver Publishing has purchased another LDS publisher, Mapletree Publishing, according to a message posted on the websites of both companies. The merger consolidates two smaller publishers active in the LDS market, and borders on creating a new medium-sized publisher.
In school, my marketing professors taught that businesses would avoid a lot of errors if they would introduce new products only after studying the intended market for the product first. Too many products are created only to find that there isn’t a market for them — no one wants to purchase them.
Its kind of like the idea “start with the end in mind,” execpt you have to do research to figure out the end first.
Marketing experts agree that the proper way to create a product is to start with a market study. Which group of people would be interested in which features of a potential product and how much would they be willing to pay for that product. Knowing this, the producer can decide whether or not the product is worth the effort. Or, just as importantly, what features or benefits the product should have to distinguish it from other products competing for the same customers. Once the study is complete, then, they argue, the product can be designed to meet what the market wants.
So, is this the way that a writer should plan out the books he writes?
There is something deceptive about success stories. You hear a story of someone else’s success, and it is sometimes hard not to assume that you can do the same.
Author success stories are no exception. For Mormons, Stephanie Meyer is the most recent example. She is just like so many LDS authors — a suburban housewife with kids who writes in her spare time. I’m sure she has a Church calling, worries about how well her kids are doing in school and probably finds inspiration in the people she knows. In fact, her life is just like that of half the women in my ward.