Genre Wars, Point of View and Execution

It’s all in the delivery, folks.   Writers ought to know that.

Opinions can bring out the best in people, and the worst.  But what really kills me is when somebody thinks that their opinion should be mine.  That their opinion is the only valid one.

Puh-leeze…  we’ve all met this kind of person.  The opinionated kind of person that looks upon their own viewpoints with a kind of almost fanatical zeal.  Their opinion is the only valid one.  This week was full of it, I’ll tell ya that.

Over at a site called Fangs, Fur and Fey, one of the posters commented

I don’t get romances.


No seriously. I’ve never really  been able to read them – though I know a lot of folks do. I kind of skim the first couple pages and start laughing and abandon them. It’s probably a character fault. (I can’t watch pornos, either, for the record – I laugh a lot during them too – us Scorpios have interesting thoughts on love and sex).

She then goes on to post that she just doesn’t understand the genre, although she’s enjoyed a couple of books that are most definitely romance.  Then she states on Dear Author that she was actually making an appeal.  Not a dig.  Well, possibly.  But if she’s a writer, then she should understand that how she phrases things is going to make an impact on the reader~sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Considering how she opened her post, I don’t feel much sympathy for the verbal lashing she’s taken.  She opened with what was more or less an insult.  Even ending it with a request for book suggestions doesn’t change the overall tone of the post.

Of course, the real gem was found here.

There’s some very interesting research about romance novels and their appeal that I could probably dig up (specifically regarding middle-class white women) if you’re interested on a social level.

Secretly, I was thinking hey… you know a lot of people probably think of the ‘trekkie’ stereotype when sf & f is discussed.  You know… somebody like….this guy.

Then I fell in love with Gennita Low’s comment at Dear Author.

Want to read the research I can probably dig up (from the theses section in a varsity library) on science fiction and their appeal (specifically regarding white, nerdy, middle class males)? ;-P

I don’t buy into the stereotypes, but I am aware of them.  I read sci fi and fantasy, love it, and I’m well aware of the stereotypes associated with the genre.  Just like I’m aware of the stereotypes about the romance genre.  You’d think somebody who is big into one genre, therefore probably aware of the stereotypes, would be aware that other genres get stereotyped aswell.

Now a lot of the comments weren’t insulting, a lot were well thought out, some for romance, some against, some acknowledged that romance wasn’t their thing but they realized that didn’t mean the genre wasn’t valid.

Yep, opinions have abounded on this one.  Mine?  Hey, I’ll read what I like and I’d appreciate it if nobody took potshots at me for it.  I’m a wife, a mom, a published author,  an educated woman, a trained professional.  I work hard and when I decide I want to read a book, be it from the sci fi & fantasy section, or the romance, I’m entitled to read what I want without people snickering.

And yes, I think writers who are either published, or seeking publication, should take a little more care with the words they throw around.  If it’s going to be insulting to readers… please don’t say it.  Those romance readers you’re insulting are quite possibly cross-genre readers.  A lot of us uneducated, stay at home mama types who are miserable with their lives just love to read about those pointy eared guys.  (Yes, this is me being sarcastic)

And then there was the kerfuffle over at Karen’s place.  No… not at Karen’s…  ;-).  It started mainly with her question

Also, what do you think of multiple POVs and authors who head-hop, in general? For? Against?

Or that’s how the big debate started at least.  Karen also asked about whether or not people wanted to read things from the villian’s POV.  Some had issues with it.  Some don’t.  The majority of those were polite, well thought out and they came from both sides of the fence.

But what really got interesting was when Teddy commented

I am sure other good writers whom I love and respect, who are noted great writers, may have contemplated using more than two POV’s but those smart, critically acclaimed, great writers did not use it.

Why? Could it be an unfocused weak way of telling the story?


“I don’t go around telling them they’re eating crap, though.”

Not unless you can give a “valid reason” why you have that opinion.

He’d also made references that using multiple POV was the sign of a weak writer.

Teddy’s entitled to his opinion, but man… Teddy, you’ve got a way of speaking that more or less tells people, Either agree with me or you’re an idiot.

Books that other people loved, he says they failed.  Why?  Seems like mainly because it’s multiple POV.  Not everybody likes it.  That’s fine.  But I love multiple POV, reading and writing it.  He can’t change his wording, just a little, something like oh… that book failed for me… and he could then list the reasons.  But nope.  He just calls them crap, says the book failed and managed to give the insinuation that if you are intelligent, you wouldn’t like it either.

My opinion on POV, I get bored if I’m just reading one or two POV.  I like knowing what the villian is thinking, or important secondaries.  I don’t want to feel sympathy for the bad guy… he is the bad guy.  But I have no problems reading his thoughts, his motivations.  So multiple POVs don’t bother me at all, provided the writer does it well.

Others don’t agree. That’s fine.  To each his own.  But I really do prefer when people can voice their opinion without it coming across as an insult to those that don’t agree.

Teddy, if you’re reading this, hey, you are entitled to your opinion.  But if you don’t want people getting up in arms over it, you need to find a more polite way of explaining it.  Then again… it’s entirely possible you don’t care that you manage to insult people.  I don’t know.  Does get tedious, though. 

Guys, I’m an opinionated person.  *cough cough  VERY OPINIONATED cough cough**.  But I also understand the importance of explaining opinions in a way that isn’t going to piss off every single person that dares to disagree.

Man, this was almost exhausting.