Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Romance and Gossip

Ran into a sweet little chicky-poo blogger who was upset about all those obnoxious writers who blog about politics. Not about me in particular, just generally opining the practice. "Books, it should be about books."

Okay, Chicky-Poo. Here's some writing stuff. A common lament on the romance writer/author loops is "romance isn't taken seriously." As in, it doesn't give Mr./Ms. Literati the Big O.

Er, so what? Last I checked, Romance was the one genre that still had decent sales. Romance authors write books people read. Well, golly, that sucks.

I like romance. But I usually get it via other genres as a subplot (mystery/fantasy). My taste in actual Romance titles tends toward paranormal or funny contemporary. Very light reading. And that's cool.

As I've mentioned here, some of it is almost too light. Very safe stuff: sanitized, sometimes childish humour. It's okay to make fun of the hero's name or his clothes. But never too snarky. Can't hurt anyone's feelings, after all. The heroine's opinions are all very safe, careful not to offend anyone. (Except, perhaps, readers who expect a woman to have a brain, but I digress.) This stuff sells, however. Obviously, many readers like a safe, non-offensive escape.

It's also worth noting that many of the authors of fun, light novels are careful not to be offensive anywhere. Nothing too controversial on their blogs, etc. That's cool, too. Their prerogative and all that. (Really amusing are the authors who cringe when a parent/family member reads one of their sex scenes. Grown woman with three kids is embarrassed because Mom knows she thinks sexy thoughts. Oh, brother.)

But it runs counter to their (a few Romance writers, not all) desire to be taken seriously by the literary fiction community.

The stuff that makes the snippy critics' panties wet is rarely safe. Hard, crunchy literary fiction takes chances. It peels away the superficial shells and exposes the rotten, worm-infested underneath. At the very least, it offends someone. Sometimes, it's a hell of a lot of work to read. Even if it is funny, the humour is dark, grownup humor: people saying not-nice stuff about other people. A lot of great fiction ends up on banned/challenged book lists.

Is this really what they [complaining romance writers/authors] want to write? If the answer is "No," then why all the fuss? I mean, if you worry what your mom/pastor will think when he or she reads a sex scene, what about an entire book whose theme challenges the Church's position on...something? What if you write a novel that is a thinly-veiled memoir, loved by critics and reviled by your family? In the quest for so-called respectability, you might "lose" something else. Nothin' fer free.

If posting a statement like "Bush is a putz/Our Beloved Leader" on a blog is too controversial for you, then the accolades of the literati might be very far away. Big deal. People also need fun, readable fiction.

"But critics should judge Romance novels for what they are." Yeah, sweetie, but they don't. They. Never. Will.

If fun is your schtick, go for it. There's no shame in writing books that people read.

More Romance Novel Cover Fun...
Judge a book by it's cover. Also does some pretty fun reviews. I like anybody who skewers the too-stupid-to-live heroines.

Some Gossip About...
Former Creed frontman Scott Stapp. Driving two hours to "get some." And I thought Gary Coleman's pay day loan shark adverts were as low as you could go.

Writing...
Got a little done yesterday. Writing chat today.

Pat K.

 

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