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View Full Version : Genre/Romance Writers: Stigma from Other Writers? (Looking for Examples)



cameron_chapman
02-14-2012, 07:17 PM
I'm working on a screenplay where the main character wants to write the next "Great American Novel". But everything she writes seems to fall squarely into genre territory, especially romance. So at one point she goes to a local writers' group (one of the pretentious ones that's filled with people who do more talking about writing than actual writing) and the other writers ridicule her for her writing, specifically picking on the fact that her writing is genre writing.

What might they say to her? Personally, I read and write genre fiction, so I'm coming up blank when it comes to insults. I'm sure there are others here who have run into these situations in real life, and might be willing to lend me some lines. What kinds of things do pretentious wannabe-writers say when they find out you write romance? Or sci-fi or fantasy or mysteries or whatever? Or really anything people might say at a writers' group that would be particularly discouraging to a new writer?

Thanks in advance!

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2012, 07:29 PM
What I've seen said about Romance is it's written to a formula, and anyone can do it. Or that it's always the same story. Or...it's writing for *women*.

Alessandra Kelley
02-14-2012, 07:32 PM
Check out the New York Times Book Review for a solidy Literary viewpoint. I don't know if they notice genre much, but it will give you the right lingo.

Lyra Jean
02-14-2012, 07:44 PM
Genre writing is not real writing or serious writing.

It doesn't cover issues it is only for entertainment.

It's not realistic.

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2012, 08:09 PM
It's escapist. Boy, that one. That one gets my goat.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2012, 08:13 PM
Yeah, the 'written to a formula' thing is a common insult. As are comments along the lines of, "Oh, you write that Mills and Boon stuff?"

Because yes, 'Mills and Boon stuff' is the only type of romance out there. :rolleyes:

And when people write erotic romance...my oh my...you can imagine the comments you get then. "Need any help with research?" ~ "Oh, you write...sex books?" ~ "Have you done everything you've written in your books, then?"

Why, yes. Yes, I have. Because I have no imagination. I've written an autobiography and labelled it 'friction fiction'. :rolleyes:

Jersey Chick
02-14-2012, 08:17 PM
Romance is just porn for women.

That's one of my favorites.

Oh, and throw in the term bodice-ripper. Makes me want to choke someone.

firedrake
02-14-2012, 08:20 PM
Variations of this one always boil my piss: "Oh, I've always fancied writing one of those romances, they must be so easy to churn out."

Cyia
02-14-2012, 08:39 PM
"Oh! You write[genre]. I love those because the stories are so much simpler, I don't have to think about them."

Jersey Chick
02-14-2012, 08:40 PM
Yep - just change the name and the eye color and they're all the same, right? Right?


grrrr....

cameron_chapman
02-14-2012, 09:41 PM
These are all great! Keep 'em coming!

Karen Junker
02-14-2012, 10:34 PM
I was in a crit group as a romance writer and a couple of the literary writers used to always complain that my prose was so purple (believe me, it's not.) Also that I was too wordy (they'd have me cut descriptions of things like facial expressions to show emotional reaction, etc.)

One of my critters commented that my characters seemed to gossip too much for her (I used a conversation among women to convey information about the hero that the heroine wouldn't otherwise have known.)

Check out the Turkey City Lexicon for more common genre tropes/cliches. I think there's a copy of it on the SFWA website.

ViolettaVane
02-14-2012, 10:57 PM
You have sex in your stories? I bet it sounds just like Penthouse letters.

Old Hack
02-14-2012, 11:12 PM
Sophie Kinsella, who writes commercial women's fiction, was interviewed in the UK's national paper, The Guardian, yesterday (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/12/sophie-kinsella-highly-intelligent-ditzy-klutzy). I think you'll find all sorts of material in the interview: it's very negative.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2012, 11:38 PM
I'm not a fan of Sophie Kinsella's work -- nothing to do with it being chicklit. But her 'heroine' doesn't change through an entire series of books, and Kinsella often relies on coincidence as a plot device.

Other chicklit authors are highly talented. Kinsella? Not so much.

Richard White
02-14-2012, 11:41 PM
When I was interviewing for a possible slot in an MFA program, one of the professors literally looked down their nose at me and said, "Oh, you write those kind of stories."

Needless to say, a) after doing some checking, I have more publishing credits than they do and b) I'm kinda glad I did NOT get accepted into that program.

poeticjustice_2001
02-14-2012, 11:46 PM
"Well, I guess if you can't write the real stuff, might as write that."
Or how about
"You're writing romance.. well I guess everyone has to start somewhere."

Old Hack
02-14-2012, 11:54 PM
I'm not a fan of Sophie Kinsella's work -- nothing to do with it being chicklit. But her 'heroine' doesn't change through an entire series of books, and Kinsella often relies on coincidence as a plot device.

Other chicklit authors are highly talented. Kinsella? Not so much.

Your opinion of Kinsella's work doesn't change the fact that the interview I linked to was biased against her because she writes commercial women's fiction. With all due respect, you incurable tosspot. Ha!


When I was interviewing for a possible slot in an MFA program, one of the professors literally looked down their nose at me and said, "Oh, you write those kind of stories."

Needless to say, a) after doing some checking, I have more publishing credits than they do and b) I'm kinda glad I did NOT get accepted into that program.

A couple of years ago I applied for a scholarship to do a creative writing PhD. I got down to the final five or so, but when I checked out the people who taught writing at the University concerned I realised that not one of them had been trade-published, not one of them had any sort of reputation in their chosen field apart from their teaching jobs at that university, and very few of the graduates from their MA went on to be published.

I took my application no further. I saw no point in it.

scarletpeaches
02-15-2012, 12:05 AM
Your opinion of Kinsella's work doesn't change the fact that the interview I linked to was biased against her because she writes commercial women's fiction. With all due respect, you incurable tosspot. Ha!Why I oughtta...

*shakes fist*

Solunar
02-15-2012, 12:13 AM
"I mean, it's disgu-dirty."

Said by my mother when we were discussing why I wrote M/m erotica. Pretty sure she was going to say disgusting.

DrZoidberg
02-15-2012, 12:18 AM
The male protagonist is a stereotype macho alpha-male with wide shoulders, square jaw and steady gaze.

Buffysquirrel
02-15-2012, 12:45 AM
So you don't want to be a serious writer, then?

*strangles certain family members*

lizbeth dylan
02-15-2012, 01:47 AM
"Smut slut". That's been my favorite when I told someone I was writing a romance.

And make sure they whisper it. People around here always whisper when they talk about reading romances. Like it's a dirty little secret.

Canotila
02-15-2012, 03:29 AM
I've heard people say that romance readers and writers aren't satisfied in their personal relationships.

Buffysquirrel
02-15-2012, 09:21 PM
Which is somehow worse than wishing you were a spy or a master criminal or....

Lil
02-16-2012, 01:55 AM
You're writing a romance novel? Gee, that should take half an hour or so.

Why don't you write a real book?

(I get no respect.)

Alison_Kale
02-16-2012, 03:19 AM
I also like "porn for women."

And lots of entirely unrealistic, one-dimensional, derivative characters.

I always hated when my professors said the best books created visceral responses in their readers and I was like OH HEY. I cry and laugh more during romances/fantasy than in literary fiction. Hmm??

I don't mind if people hate genre. I just wish they tried READING more than one or two old skool romances of 70s sci-fi before counting us all out.