Genre fiction is both some of the most popular fiction and also the most looked down upon for being such. How can it be special if even commoners can understand it? *Turns up nose here in a dramatic sniff of derision.*
If you’re a reader (and writer) you’ve most likely already heard comments like these:
Fantasy: I don’t read about vampires/dragons/zombies…
Romance: I wouldn’t waste my time with something like that. I’m much too busy/important to read something like that.
Mystery: Oh, like the tea cozy? Not like a real mystery…
Chick Lit: I’m sorry I don’t read chick lit. *Emphasis on the only for women, wouldn’t touch it with a twenty-foot pole chick lit.*
Erotica: Oh, erotica. *Said in such a way they wouldn’t touch it for fear of cooties and unexplainably sticky pages.*
Of course, the elite and snobbish of the book world don’t have it any easier. They may look down on the vampire romances and gargoyle erotica of the world, but these are the main sellers for a reason. They’re easy to read, not wielding half of the dictionary in a seven hundred page tome that has “masterpiece” written on the front of it but makes you blink your eyes every three pages to try to stay sharp and focused. And quite often, it’s not just the snobbish Hemingway wanna-bes that are wielding such ridicule—no, we of the popular fiction world, also have biases and a light amount of bullying. *Gasp!* I know, right?
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard Twilight referenced like it’s the dregs of the earth—or Fifty Shades of Gray, dropped a rung beneath it.
I, too, have my biases. Mostly, against either hard to understand books trying to prove a point or badly edited books—some things I can get past, but sometimes, no, just no.
Personally, I thought Twilight was okay (hold your tomatoes, I’m still talking) but that’s because I figured it’s okay for its genre. Whatever it lacked in edits, it didn’t really hurt my pace when I was reading and it didn’t slap me in the face with its bad edits, so it doesn’t stand out to me as a bad book.
I’m not too well versed on erotica to know anything about Fifty Shades of Gray, but it’s a book. A day dream. A little thrill people can get when reading. Why is it taken so literally? Want to get pissed off at a book, what about the rapey romances of yore? The classics of the romance world—see The Flame and The Flower. And if you still remember it with a lot of fondness, re-read the damned thing.
I feel there’s a time and place for just about every book. A lot of the books I’ve read that I didn’t like at the time, I like to think would be more enjoyable at another time for me. That’s why I never worry too much about the spoof things done on books or how awful a certain genre is, because I know opinions are forever in flux. That’s the good thing about life—you get to change your mind and be you—the person you are today, not the person you were or the person you will be, simply the person you are at this moment.
I still don’t like the bullying for the stigma it creates for the authors that haven’t found their footing yet. It’s all just opinions—sometimes hurtful opinions, but meaningless and transitional.
If I let the so many wounding barbs stop me—even from people I respect and care for, then I wouldn’t write in the present tense and I would’ve given up on fantasy long ago. I would’ve missed some very heart wrenching children’s books and never found the fuel of romance novels to feed the flames of my want to read, and I wouldn’t be myself. How sorry I would be if I let someone change me so personally.
It’s okay to be popular in this world of books. If you want to write a romance, go for it. You don’t have to write a sexy scene, but if you want to, don’t feel any shame in writing something raunchy. Pen your erotica and take off with your main character up into the air on a dragon’s back. And read everything you think you can enjoy. Test the waters and stay open. I think there’s an overly articulate, heavy-ass book out there to change my mind on how I view classic literature—just as I think there’s a raunchy romance out there, most likely tucked under an uber-snob’s bed as I type this.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself—always leave the door of opportunity just a little bit cracked, and never let anyone shut it on you.
It’s okay to be you. And it’s okay to be popular. J
I’m off to write more of tender scene with my guardian troll. You all take care and I’ll write more later.