Saturday, July 11, 2015

thinking about THE BIG BANG THEORY by Karla Stover

Author Karla Stover shares her thoughts on:
The Big Bang Theory, and what it says to writers

     Page 19 of a book called The Wrecking Crew talks about the beginnings of rock-n-roll. Extrapolating from two paragraphs, it says, “Unlike the small companies, (indies) the behemoths such as Columbia and Mercury opted to stick with traditional pop offerings: the New Christy Minstrels, Johnny Mathis, and Tennessee Ernie Ford—those they knew would sell. They waited years before grudgingly signing a rock-n-roll group: Paul Revere & the Raiders.”

     Translation: businesses don’t like to take chances.

     But someone did with the Big Bang Theory.

     I started watching the Big Bang from day one—that is, in 2004. Hard to believe it’s been on 11 years. In 2004, Friends was winding up and so was Fraser. NCIS, L&O Special Victim’s Unit, CSI Miami and any number of other shows featuring pretty people were new and fresh. But none was as fresh as the Big Bang. With the exception of Penny, the characters were kids we knew, but not well, in school; they were usually found in Science Club. I wish I had known them better, because thanks to the Big Bang guys, I am now able to answer some of our newspaper’s quiz questions when they pertain to science. But I digress. I think part of the show’s initial popularity is that it was different from everything else. CBS took a chance.

     The behemoth publishers don’t want to take a chance on anything new, either. Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times because, as one letter said, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell,” but how did the publishers know?  Maybe because the year before Carrie came out (1974) the best sellers included Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Evening in Byzantium, and The Billion Dollar Sure Thing. Then, a publisher took a chance and created a genre industry.

      To my way of thinking, the last big chance that a TV network took before the Big Bang was The Waltons and the last monumental chance taken in publishing was the Harry Potter books.

     Right now, I’m working on three books, one is non-fiction, two are historical fiction, and one of the historical fictions is YA. The YA historical fiction is taking a chance. The other two are playing it safe. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. As I sit here, typing, the only neglected genre I can think of is battlefield fiction. All the others, mine included, are out there jockeying for readers with all the others of its type

     The Big Bang may have been new and different but, I write what I know, what I love, and what I like to read. Guess I didn’t learn the lesson.