View Full Version : Oh, sure!
07-30-2003, 07:47 PM
I show up and everyone stops talking books.
Right. Fine. I'll just start a topic all by myself. Um. Topic. Let's see...books. Hmm hmmm hmmm. Yessirree, they have words in 'em. Books. Booooooooks.
Um. Oh! I know. I was just at a multi-genre writers' conference last weekend, and all the literary fiction guys were walking around giving us genre fiction writers the fish eye. What I'd like to know is why there is a perception that genre books--romance, mysteries, fantasy, etc--are viewed as being less important/valuable/meaningful than a litfic book where the protagonist suffered a horrible childhood, horrible life, and by the end of the book, everyone is just as miserable/depressed/abuse as he or she was at the beginning.
What's wrong with a book to take you out of your everyday world? What's wrong with indulging in a little fantasy, no matter what the genre? What's wrong with reading a book that you know is going to give you an emotionally satisfying read, and a happy ending?
Whoops! Somehow that turned into a little rant. Sorry. I'll just return you to your regular programming now. :)
07-30-2003, 08:03 PM
Ya know, I am a lurker, not a poster, but I just had to chime in!
It took me years to read genre fiction - cause I thought if I was reading it had to be "worthwhile" - when I finally woke up to the reality that if my form of entertainment was reading, then I could read anything I wanted, it was so liberating!
Now I read for ME! If I like it I read it, and I'll even share it. I will not read a book because someone tells me I HAVE to; nor will I buy into the belief that I have to be, or commiserate with, misery in order participate in "fine literature" Patooyee! :irked:
07-30-2003, 09:41 PM
I love to read and I love to be entertained by what I am reading. If a genre book does that, well than grand. If a biography does that, great. I'll read anything as long as it's good. I don't think one is any better than another.
By the way Katie, I enjoyed Noble Destiny. Charlotte was quite a unique heroine. :lol:
07-30-2003, 11:34 PM
LOL that all went over my head. And I'm a Literature major! (Not modern lit, though, so I beg excuse on that.)
So, to improve my education (and everyone else's for that matter)...what makes literary fiction so literary? Why might litfic writers think they're more special?
I'm thinking that mystery, romance, and fantasy books tend to have "stock" plots. As in:
Mystery: someone dies. other people figure out who made that person die. at the end, they figure it out.
Romance: two people fall in love at some point and boink (sometimes a lot) afterward.
Fantasy: somebody discovers sie has mythic powers and figures out how to use those powers for good instead of evil, and/or has to go on a quest.
Actually, that's why I stopped reading romance books. (At 14 I discovered what was in my mom's stack of Harlequins...whoo boy! :twisted: ) No matter what the variation, eventually, two people fall in love enough to boink. Usually, it's either two people who fall in love at first sight, or two people who hate each other at first sight and eventually fall in love.
And then I figured out that it's a *genre*. (lol - did I just answer my own question from above?) Yes, the same things always happen, because that's what happens in the other books. It's just the particulars that change, or how well the same story is done.
So - long road to a short answer - literary people might not like genre fiction so much because they think one romance book, say, is nearly indistinguishable from another. Plus, so many people think they can write for "the formula" (see above), lots of genre books are poorly written, which doesn't reflect well at all on the great books in the same genre.
Did that make any sense? LOL you can tell I'm a lit major; if I don't know what I'm talking about when I start writing, by the end of the essay, I do. :D also hoping I didn't offend you...
Mairi the Herbwench
07-31-2003, 10:54 AM
Take most litfic, put the heroine in a bodice, and it's the same as genre. Sturgeon's Law - 90% of everything is crap. But finding that 10% makes it all worthwhile! Romances are great bathtub books, SciFi and fantasy are great escapes. mysteries make me think, and most current fiction is crap. IMHO. YMMV...
08-01-2003, 12:21 PM
Yes indeedy doo doo. The stigma of genre writing. Yes, there is a stigma, but there is not much you can do about it. It exsists in the art realm too. I have had people critique my paintings negitively because they seem to be offended by garb... (I love painting garb.)...so they write me off as a "fantasy artist", but that is not what I am. And I get frustrated when people tell me to focus on one subject or ideal. If I want to paint a griffon, I will, if I want a charcoal nude, I'll do that too...then don't crap your pants when I decide to do an abstract. If I want to write fantasy, I will, and if I want to write a philosophical paper on the comparision between, God, man, light, color, and the prism...I'm gonna do it. (and I am...just kinda trying to get off my a**)
I think a lot of stuff nowadays is fluff, in all the art realms, what I think is important is that you enjoy what you read, or view.
A writer who enjoys writing fantasy or romance, etc...and it fulfills then, shouldn't force themselves to write "real literature." Just like, Sequential Artists (of which I have many friends) don't need to force themselves to do "modern art" if it doesn't move them from the core of thier being.
And lets face it, some people need pretty pictures to hang in restaurants and over sofas, and some of us need a break once and a while from heavy tech. writing...and turn to fluffy yummy books in "genres"
And you would be suprised at the inner meanings and symbolism in seemingly simple books. Sometimes it is all how you view it. Take Stephen R. Donaldson's Covenant Cycle for example...and onion book. Change your thinking platform and it takes on a whole new meaning...
And we really should learn how to stop judging people.
OK, I think that was almost a soap box moment. I could go on, but I only had 2 hours of sleep so far, and I need to rest. :shock: And I am sure you all are glad of it..haha
08-21-2003, 02:48 AM
So i've been away for a while (busy, trying to buy a house and all) and i come back to find this (very keen) thread..
which actually touches on something i;ve been thinking about recently.. i read genre books.. a lot romance, science fiction and fantasy top my list but i also read some "lit fic" ... and aniwho i'm a big Nora Roberts fan (in case you don't know she's a multi time best seller ((Like 40)) writer usually categorized as romance and science fiction/mystery who's written over 150 books ((most of them good)) in about 20 years) i think she rocks and i recently heard an interview with her where she talked about the fact that she doesn’t see herself as a "romance writer" she sees herself as a writer, period. she comments that all books share some aspects, a lot of mystery has romantic aspects a lot of science fiction has thriller aspects and so on and so forth (and vice versa) . she of course put this much more succinctly than i am but her message seemed to be... it doesn't MATTER, if you enjoyed the book it's all good!
now i've got to say that 9 out of 10 *formula* romance books suck. they just suck the characters are cardboard and the sex is euphemism central (pet peeve) but that doesn't mean romance as an entire GENRE sucks there's a lot of dreck in all genres, there's a lot of "serious" fiction i think is worthless... so um i think i lost my train of thought AND my ticket...
08-22-2003, 09:27 AM
The ONLY romances I read are Bertrice Small's--my mom used to read them, so they were in the house. Small writes about the Middle Ages, and her books actually seem to have been researched to some extent, so they're interesting to me historically, although the sex is of course cheesy. I just don't tend to judge books too harshly, unless they're REALLY poorly written (I have a very willing suspension of disbelief, so I give plot a lot of leeway). Entertaining is good. On that note, I read a LOT of Stephen King, but very little other horror/suspense fiction. I know King has a bad rap, but he really does know what he's doing, and most of his books are more than just the written version of a slasher flick.
My two cents.
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