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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Wendi Zwaduk

The Fame Monster

The lights, the cameras, the shouts of adoring fans, seeing your name in lights or in print. Yes, celebrity, no matter how big or small is pretty darned tempting. Who doesn’t want recognition for doing something good? Take a look at Hollywood—lots of people have attained fame just for existing or doing something stupid. It’s how the world works.

Sounds like I’m being negative. I’m not. It’s my interpretation and I’ve been known to be wrong. And hey, I’m no exception. Seeing my name on the cover of my first short story was a heady experience. To know that something I’d created was considered well-written enough for others to’s cool but it’s crazy.

In my first book, Right Where I Need to Be, Logan Malone, the hero is a celebrity. He’s sort of like Tom Cruise or Gerard Butler—a movie star. His issue? The Fame Monster. And no, I’m not channeling Lady Gaga. Up until the book starts, Logan let the fame take over and rule his life. In the public eye, he was considered a loose cannon. When he meets Cass, he has to figure out if the Fame Monster is something he wants to live with or walk away from forever.

This translates to real life as well. As an author, I get to talk to other authors and meet people while getting my name out there. I’ve found it’s easy to let the notoriety, no matter how trivial get to you. The need to be noticed, to be rewarded, can become consuming. It’s like I’m only important when people love me or “I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.”

Ok, now I’m channeling Norma Desmond, but it’s very true.

I’ve seen too many people who feel that they are only valuable when they have the love of other in mass form. Logan, during his acting heyday, wasn’t any different. He loved being the center of attention, having women fawn over him. Sadly, he’s not alone in this idea. Take a look at Hollywood. Yes, there are those who tout philanthropic achievements, and here, here! But there are a ton who are there just to have that huge party, to be seen, to just be famous.

What have I learned in the course of writing Logan’s character and seeing the book come to fruition?

Just because your name is on the cover of a book doesn’t make it good. It’s the comments from the readers and the insight given that makes the book great. If they can say, you transported me to a world I want to go back to again and again, then you did your job.

I learned that I am my biggest fan and worst critic. I see all the stuff I consider goof-ups in the finished product. I have also gone back and read what I wrote and thought, gee, I wrote this? It sounds so...good! Don’t mistake it for narcissism. It’s just a matter of ignoring the idea that I did indeed pen the lines, but seeing them for what they are—a romantic tale of love gone sideways for all the right reasons.

But the biggest thing I learned is not to let the Fame Monster take hold. My name may be on a book (or four or five), which is great, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. I’m still learning my craft and tweaking my characters. I’m still waiting to hit my true stride.

And that’s fine by me.


cheryl c said...

I think a lot of celebrities ruin their lives and careers while pursuing fame. You see actors willing to do any project for fame and money. I admire those who select their projects (films, books, etc.) carefully so they can do quality work.

robynl said...

the readers are the ones who bring the book to the level it achieves, I agree.

Pat Cochran said...

I agree with cheryl c, quality
will always trump quantity! The
fame chasers don't realize how
easy it is to tell which they
have sold out to!

Pat Cochran