Realism? by Christine Duncan

I had to go to the dentist the other day, and for one reason or another, my husband ended up there with me. He read over my shoulder as I paged through some women’s magazines because he didn’t see anything he wanted to read himself.

After a few minutes, my husband exclaimed, “They’re just trying to sell you stuff: Makeup, furniture, kitchen equipment; they’re just trying to get you to buy things.”

He was singing my song.

I have been complaining about just that thing for years now.

Please don’t write me and tell me about Martha Stewart Magazine or Mother Earth or something else that still tries to give readers more than a catalog. There are a couple of exceptions and I get it. But more and more magazines seem to be one big ad campaign.

I feel that way on the net too. How many folks are trying to sell me their books (Yes, I do it too!) on Facebook. How many stores am I supposed to like and why? And why do all of my friends have to tell me (I know it’s automatic and totally out of their control but still) what stores they like?

One author I know actually taught a class at some conference I went to, telling us to put famous products in our books, and try to get endorsements from the companies that made the products. He gave examples from the works of best selling authors, who he claimed were getting money from the companies they included in their books.

So I guess we’re getting ads in our books too.

I want to be valued for what I do, not what I buy.

But worse than that, it’s beginning to feel as though if I were writing a totally realistic novel that was set in the real world I live in, the heroine wouldn’t have time for a mystery. She would do her 40 hours of work, plus commute, go home and clean and cook, take care of her kids and shop. And shop and shop.

That’s Noire for you. I don’t even like to shop. I knew there was a reason I write Fiction.


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