Why Greed Breeds Bad Writing

As humans we are all creatures of habit. Sadly, one of those rituals is the pursuit of all things money-related. Writing is not so far different from that of our everyday lives. We seek out (sometimes at all costs) that which we can’t afford, that which is unobtainable, or simply that which the other one possesses.

Take this scenario for example:

"Stupid Bag" © CardCastlesInTheSky
Click to view larger

What we see pictured here is a classic example of what some often do. Those of us that just happen to be writers are no different. We’ve all heard it before. A prime opportunity comes along. You’ve hit the big time and your best-selling novel is going to be turned into a screenplay. Well, congratulations. The only problem is, while you were busy running through your new money and visiting the Playboy Mansion, you lost sight of your number one cause. You’ve sold out and become a mockery of your own artistic expression.

Case and point:

Almost everyone on the planet has heard of the Saw franchise. For those of you that haven’t, it started out as a small indie horror movie that turned into about 85 sequels. Now, herein lies the problem. The first movie may not have been glitzy Hollywood award-worthy but, it had character. There was depth to be understood and an interesting story to be told. It unfolded at a decent pace and kept the viewer interested to the last minute. (Not to mention, a spectacular ending.) This is what gained the movie such popularity and praise. This is also what sent the idea whirling down the toilet.

Gremlins (1984)
I told you not to feed him after midnight.
Gremlins (1984) Warner Bros.

Once small yet wonderful ideas like a fresh, edgy horror script get dolled up (and screwed up) by greed and larger budgets, they tend to lose their artistic sight. It is no longer about the writing or its worth to the viewer/reader. It then becomes a whole different monster; one that craves money and devours the writer’s true talent. The monster then grows and sometimes even multiplies. It’s victim? Our eyes. Yet some people keep feeding this damned creature.

My advice is simple. If you’re a regular here, you hear me mention artistic expression often. Don’t sacrifice your talent for anyone. Money certainly sounds dandy. It may even look fancy on your front lawn and in your home. Be careful, though. You may just be trading something a lot more precious.


13 thoughts on “Why Greed Breeds Bad Writing

  1. Thank you for this post.

    I particularly *LOVE* the last sentence. What you’re saying here can apply to the arts in general. Now I’m going through a “rough patch” concerning my thesis. I get nagged for being “too creative”. Of course, I want my career builder, but I want to reconcile both my wallet and what I love to write about.
    If people can write about Pee-Wee Herman (yes, this is a true story) then my content should be given the green light.

    Sticking to horror, though, yes, I agree there is a problem with ideas devolving into shameless money-grabbers. But then it still begs the question(s): have we desensitized people? Is it technology? Is it both?
    I think both, but one also has to factor in lifestyle and what not. The quicker something is, the better, that’s partially how content gets watered-down, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolee, hun, you may have just won the comment of the year award here @ CardCastles.
      Such a valid point you made here.
      I think technology has a lot to do with it. In fact, the rapid speed at which it’s evolved may just be responsible for that desensitizing you speak of.
      I could go on about this for days. To cut myself short, though – I think both of our article are excellent sister pieces to one another.

      Who knows…maybe our own writing may be responsible for a future change of bringing back the old school with our own twist on it. Whatever the case, you have my vote.


  2. Spot on. Chase leads to Erase… erased creativity, camaraderie, fun… it’s a loss in every way but ‘example.’ (I enjoy your posts very much, Meredith)

    Liked by 1 person

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