Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Genre Friction by Diana Holquist

When people ask what I write, I smile real big and say, “chic-lit paranormal romance novels.”

They never smile back.

See, if they’re chic lit fans, they get all turned off by the romance part. And if they’re into paranormal, the chic-lit stuff goes down hard—too light and fluffy and pink. And if they’re into romance, they’re sick to death of all those high-heeled shoes and vampires (and vampires in high-heeled shoes) and just wanna-good-love-story-for-heaven’s-sakes-why-can’t-anyone-just-write-a-decent-love-story-between-a-normal-man-and-a-normal-woman-anymore…?

Then there are the people who read my book and admit sheepishly, “I was surprised that it was, you know, good. I don’t usually read this kind of thing.”

This kind of thing? A chic-lit paranormal romance novel about psychic gypsies? No probably not…

But what they really mean is that they don’t read anything but “literary” fiction. That’s the genre of books that are well-written but kind of boring and often lost in the middle and mostly pretty sad and depressing.

Oops, there I go, genre bashing.

Then, let’s talk about sex, baby. What’s romantic and what’s erotic and what’s flat-out porn? How do you know the difference?

Wait. Forget about it. Let’s definitely NOT talk about sex.

I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time. But I wonder, what do you all think of genres? Do you read in only one genre? Do you like your books to stick to only one genre? What do you wish you saw more of? Less of? What genre do you wish existed that doesn’t yet?

Happy October!



Lori Wilde said...


I'll read any genre. I just want a good book. That's my only criteria.

Karen W. said...

I'm with Lori. And Diana, I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your book, and I'm looking forward to the next one. :-)

Paula Quinn said...

Diana, great post. I love historical romances and paranormals, anything with ghosts, fairies, or dragons and I'm hooked. I'd love to see more sci/fi fantasy romances out there.
Have any of you noticed that every week without fail People Mag's critic's choice is a book about cancer, overcoming depression, a family member's suicide, etc? Not for me, thanks.

Rikz said...

I agree, Paula... :) Not for me either.

Diana, I read any genre too. As long as it has a bit of romance and the heroine ends up with the hero. That's all I ask! Hehehe..

Happy October back at ya! ;-)

Nonny said...

I used to have some amount of genre bias against romance, which isn't unusual for someone who read/wrote primarily science fiction and fantasy. That didn't really go away until I joined my former writers' community, which had several multi-genre writers. The usual combination? Fantasy and romance. Often, primarily romance. Needless to say, they thwapped my preconceived notions (such as romance being "easy" to write -- HAH!) right out of my head. :)

That being said, even to this day, I'm much more likely to pick up a paranormal romance, especially ones that have a 50/50 external plot/romance ratio, than I am any other type. (Okay. Except for historicals. I've found I have a definite weakness for medievals. Mmm. ^_^)

I'd love to see more historical paranormals. Most everything you see these days, with some very rare exception, is more akin to urban fantasy. Which is okay, but... I've read a couple books about vampires in a medieval setting and adored them. I'd love to read more stuff like that. (And I really don't feel like doing the research necessary to write them myself. LOL.)

I'd also like to see more fantasy romance. That is, romance in a fantasy setting. I know you get it to some extent in e-pubbed novels, but I really wish it would take off in print. Unfortunately, the fantasy genre isn't interested in anything that's got too heavy of a romantic plot, and romance isn't interested in anything that's a non-modern fantasized setting. E-pubbed books are often too short for me, as a fantasy reader, to feel like I'm "in the world." Le sigh. Maybe it'll catch on eventually.

Diane Perkins said...

I wish I read more! Lately I've been confining myself to non-fiction to try to give myself ideas of future plots and to do the research for plots-in-progress.
I didn't read much when my kids were small, I was working, and getting my MSW, but when the schoolwork was done, I went back, starting with Dick Francis and other mystery writers. But what I loved about Dick Francis were his heroes and the love story. I read some science fiction, then some literary fiction. I came to a literary book by a very famous woman author in which the main character did not change at all. At the end of the book she was exactly the same as when she started but everybody else's life was in tatters because of her.
I went back to reading Romance and, even though some of the books disappointed, none of them disappointed like that one literary one!

Michelle Rowen said...

Is chic-lit a more fashionable form of chick-lit? ;-)

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Aww, come on, Diana, let's talk about sex! ;-)

I read just about anything except for westerns I suppose. I'm reading JONATHON STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL now and I plan to finish it sometime before the new year or die trying.

Diana Holquist said...

I guess the one thing we can all agree on is that there just isn't enough time to read.

Isn't it interesting how genres like fantasy/romance are getting their feet in e-pubs. Isn't that how funny vampires started, too?

Chic-lit is, you know, um, OKAY IT"S A STUPID TYPO! I'M TIRED AND OVERWORKED...



And, yes, let's do talk about sex if anyone's in the mood (so to speak). I have such mixed feelings about some of the stuff that's being labled "erotic" these days. Is there a line? If so, who's going to draw it?