?

Log in

No account? Create an account

How (Not) to Talk to a Writer #6

« previous entry | next entry »
Aug. 5th, 2013 | 07:24 am

"You write _________________? Oh, I don't read that. It's kind of __________________."

You can fill those two spaces in with a)whatever you write, and b)whatever negative adjective you've heard before. But generally, this statement is rather insulting. The questioner may not mean it that way (or they might) but it's about one thing.

The genre ghetto.

I don't know if people who write Romance are as familiar with that term as most Speculative Fiction people are, but the genre ghetto is the term for any genre that's considered lower than some other genre.

You know...people who read Literary Fiction think all the genres are lame. Romance readers think Science Fiction is only for boys. SciFi people think that Romance is stupid and predictable. Suspense writers think that Cosy Mystery writers are clinging to Agatha Christie's skirts. The Mystery people think Fantasy is either all about Sex Fantasies, or Elves (or both.) And everyone thinks Erotica is poorly written and not up to the story-telling standards of their own genre.

Can't we all just get along?

No reader (or writer) can read everything that's out there. It's just not possible. But it's also true that a lot of us read a lot of different things.

I never read Romance until one of my college roommates handed me Dorothy Dunnet. But now I read it quite regularly. One of the things that I love about it is that it's predictable. I know what I'm going to get when I open Mary Balogh's newest novel. (When does that come out, BTW?) I LIKE THAT. It's comforting.

I read Mysteries. I read YA. I occasionally hit Science Fiction. I read tons on Non-fiction.

All of those areas have their value. But a lot of readers don't read everything.

So I'm humbly suggesting some revisions of the above statement. How about these:

"You write ______________? Oh, I'm not very familiar with that. What makes a book _______________?"
"You write _________________? Oh, I haven't read much of that. What is your book about?"
"You write _________________? Oh, I should give that a try. It sounds interesting."

So what have you heard about your own genre from someone who's never read it?

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {5}

Terri-Lynne DeFino

(no subject)

from: bogwitch64
date: Aug. 5th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Link

Oh, my--have you hit that nail on it's little head! I cannot tell you how often I've heard, "I just don't GET fantasy." What's to get? I don't understand that statement at all. The other one I always hear is, "Why do the names have to be so hard?" Well, they're not hard. They're just unfamiliar. It's part of the world-building. But you know what? Read historical and not only are many of the names unfamiliar, but you'll have a gazillion Henry or James. How is that any less confusing?

Reply | Thread

J. Kathleen Cheney

(no subject)

from: j_cheney
date: Aug. 5th, 2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Link

True. And don't get started on Russian names. I've actually had opposite complaints on the same piece: Too many names that are too long -and- Too many two syllable names. Seriously, the same piece! Can't please some people.

I suspect that people will struggle with my Portuguese names just because they're so 'weird'.....which basically just translates into something they're not accustomed to!

(Last night a pharmaceutical commercial was on, and my husband said "Drug names sound like your people (AKA writers) come up with them. Xeljanz could totally be an evil emperor." )

Reply | Parent | Thread

Mari Adkins

(no subject)

from: mariadkins
date: Aug. 5th, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC)
Link

vampires are gross.

i get that all the time.

and never even get a chance to explain my vampires!

Reply | Thread

Heather

(no subject)

from: edgyauthor
date: Aug. 6th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
Link

Oh gosh, I have most definitely experienced this. Back when I wrote novels, my genre had been YA fantasy, which so many people had assumed was too juvenile or full of nothing but Twilight clones. Now that I make comics, there'll be revulsion from readers everywhere, since there's this misconception that all comics are for kids, and that they're not worthy of their time like "real" books since--gasp--there are pictures. And then there's all the prejudices that exist within just the comic book community. Really no escaping this, it seems...

Reply | Thread

J. Kathleen Cheney

(no subject)

from: j_cheney
date: Aug. 6th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
Link

I'll bet there -are- a totally different set of comic-ghettos...human nature, I guess.

Reply | Parent | Thread