By Gina Burgess
The Herald Sun reported on Thursday that David Lassman sent to publishers in London England several of Jane Austin’s works: “Pride and Prejudice”, “Northanger Abby”, and “Persuasion” with his name on them. He did this because he was bumfuzzeled his own work, a thriller, had not been bought. ABC reported Friday morning that nine publishers returned the submissions unopened because they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Lassman said only one editor called him on the unabashed plagiarism. However, his point was made.
I have been bogged down with so many bad works that I am bumfuzzeled there isn’t at least one or two new authors out there that have the talent of Jane Austin or Alexander Dumas or Baroness Emmuska Orczy who wrote “The Scarlet Pimpernel”. Their works were not blatantly Christian, although God was mentioned and morals played a large part in the plots. There was no foul language or graphic sexual content in their works. They wrote excellent stories. The emphasis was story, not “realism”. The realism came through, of course, because of human nature. That is what makes an excellent story real, not foul words or graphic scenes. When will writer’s learn this simple fact?
I know publishers have huge amounts of slush piles (that’s a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that are almost never read). But, if Jane Austin gets tossed, we are in real trouble. That speaks volumes about how books get chosen for publishing.
Here we have a situation that is not only annoying, but frightening, too. Publishers who are very well respected in the literary circles as well as by the buying public rejected the works that have stood the test of time for 200 years, not to mention the multi-millions of dollars they have made around the world (remember “Bride and Prejudice from Bollywood”?).
Maybe the publishers problem is the screening process. Maybe their problem is... I don’t know what their problem is.
In my job, I am not at liberty to just review Christian books. I must also look at things from the secular lists. That scares me to death.
It would seem that standards have deteriorated to fluffy-nothings or course discourses peppered with vulgarities of foul words and graphic scenes. What, I ask you, is literary about that?
I hear the refrain, “I wanted it to be as real as possible.” That is the mantra of almost every writer I have come in contact with, including the Christian fiction writers on two message boards. It is fiction. What, I ask you, is real about fiction? But, that is beside the point.
When I was about 10, a new mall was built in Monroe, La. My mom and sister would shop the clothes stores and I would shop the book store. I used to spend my entire allowance on books at a secular bookstore. I spent my evenings and free time on weekends reading. Television never held any fascination for me, besides my imagination was much more vivid when reading than watching something on TV. The books are always better than the movies. (Remember “Bride and Prejudice” from Bollywood?)
Even the movie “Gone With the Wind” paled in comparison to the book by Margaret Mitchell. My parents were subjected to many burned dinners until I finished that book.
I think movies and television have snatched the creativity from our children, which is why there are so few really creative, imaginative, and good literary works today. And which is why publishers seem satisfied with publishing fluffy nothings or course discourses. And which is why the buying public is not discriminating enough to demand better fare.