On Genre Fiction being the Scum of the Literary World

Why do you read books?

I mean seriously. Why bother? Its paper, ink and made up people and places and mostly none of it is true.

 

So WHY

Do You

READ BOOKS.

 

Stories. People like stories. They’re fun. They’re an escape. They teach us something, even if we don’t consciously realize it. Stories help you understand yourself better, as you decide what you think and feel because of everything you just read. Or you have parents that beat you and stories give you a place to live that’s safe from your reality. Or you simply have your head in the clouds and love the adrenaline rush of being someone else inside your head.

 

What KIND

Of Books

Do You Read.

 

Anything? Everything? A specific genre? A few different genres?

I know you’re supposed to have read books in school, mostly literary novels. You most likely hated them, hated having to read them. I know you’ve probably read the dictionary, at least one word on one page, if you’re my generation. Younger and you might have simply googled what the word meant, but hey – it’s still a dictionary. I know you’ve read fluff pieces on or in a magazine whether it’s on the internet or in the grocery store line that never ends. I know you’ve probably read your children’s crazy words if you have kids. I know you’ve read your own inner monologue if you keep a journal.

The list goes on.

 

What Type

Of Books

Are All of Those.

 

Literary, nonfiction, cozies, informational, fictitious, stream of consciousness.

Is one of those BETTER than the other? Did any of them AFFECT you more? Did you end up LOVING one of those and now you search out that kind of writing, essays and books everywhere you go? When you’re in the store for diapers or canned soup, do you check the book racks to see if there’s anything good? Do you wander around the used bookstore? Wonder if your sister, children, mom or best friend read, and if so, what?

 

Which

Books

MATTER.

 

All of them.

End of story.

But because this is real life and real people are contradictory, let me explain.

 

Apparently

I Write the

Scum of the Earth

Why? Because I don’t write non-fiction or literary novels. I write fiction. Fantasy, horror, paranormal. Dear cookies in heaven, I’m the devil!

 

There’s this

Theory

 

It’s an opinion really.

That all genre fiction (for example, what I write and romance, adventure, etc) is scum. It is pointless. Shouldn’t be read. There are snobs who turn their noses up at it and declare the writer of such garbage a freeloading brat who needs to get a real job, while the literary author gets to work and does something real, something important.

 

WHY?

the-reader

 

I have no idea. Maybe it’s one of those things where young people turn their noses up at old people, saying they’re better. And old people look down on young people, saying they’re ignorant idiots with easy lives. People apparently aren’t happy with themselves and need a “reason” to put others down, elevating themselves. In their head only, that is.

Regardless of where I go, all I hear about is people deciding they’re better than other people.

When really, we’re all just opinionated. We have opinions. We have likes.

I like books.

Do I care what kind of books you read?

NO! No a million times over. As long as you enjoy books, I’m a happy camper. And if you don’t like books, well that sucks and you’re missing out but hey, that’s you and I’m me.

 

See How that Works?

 

Honestly, I’d like for people to get over their selfish snobbery and pull their heads out of where the sun don’t shine.

 

GET OVER YOURSELVES.

Everyone.

Right now.

 

I like what I like. You like what you like. The garbage man down the street likes what he likes. The kindergarten teacher, too.

 

Does that make me stupid?

 

No.

Does that make the literary writer stupid? The suspense novelist stupid?

NO!

 

Writing a book

IS HARD!!!

 

I cannot stress this enough. I don’t care if you’re writing for professors, chemical engineers, third graders or the mom who has five minute breaks every couple of hours. WRITING THE FREAKING BOOK TAKES WORK. Hard work. Hours every day, just like a “real” job.

 

Genre Fiction

Is NOT

Scum

Literary Fiction

Is NOT

Snobbery

 

One bad apple does NOT ruin the whole bunch.

So knock it off.

I should be able to take a creative writing course in college and not have a professor look down on me, belittle my work and call it scum because the monsters aren’t 100% human.

But I can’t, now can I?

Because apparently, genre fiction is the scum of the literary world.

Now how

DUMB

does that sound?

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Filed under Creative Writing, Personal

Masks

I love this poem:

Masks by Shel Silverstein

She had blue skin,

And so did he.

He kept it hid

And so did she.

They searched for blue

Their whole life through,

Then passed right by –

And never knew.

 

Be who you are.

Because if you hide well enough behind a mask, you may walk right past someone who is ideal for you. Whether as a friend, helper or lover, it doesn’t matter.

You will never meet them or know them, feel accepted by them or loved by them if they do not know who you are.

You’ll never have what you truly crave because you were not yourself. Instead, hiding behind a mask of lies and partial truths. Don’t hide. Don’t fear who you are.

 

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Be who you are.

The only other option is to be someone else.

What is the point of you living if you’re going to be like another already here?

We are all the same and yet we are all so different.

Don’t hide your differences. They make you, you.

The vulnerabilities, the mistakes, the genetics controlling so much of you, the choices you can control and make, the choices you cannot make, how you react to those things out of your control.

Who you are is made up of not only every breath, but also of every thought and action. Every small comment and blush. Every yelled word of anger. Every slap, every hurt. Every smile. Every reason behind that smile.

 

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.” – Francois De La Rochefoucauld

 

Be who you are.

Or you may end up hating yourself. And as a byproduct, everyone else.

 

Everyone wears masks, that’s true.  But don’t let that mask block who you are from yourself or those around you.

There’s darkness inside all of us. But without dark there would be no light. Don’t hide it. Without one part of you, the rest of you would cease to exist.

Be careful that your mask does not keep you from living the life you want.

 

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” –Andre Berthiaume

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Why Writers are Masochists (and “I Wanna Get Better”)

So this is draft number eighty thousand and one and one half (draft number six in reality) of my novel and IT IS FINALLY READY FOR CRITIQUES.

Funny thing is, for this story – Blair’s story, the only drafts I should have written were numbers 5 and 6. Drafts 1 – 4 were all different stories.

BUT – with the help of ever-awesome critique partner and all around amazing dude (you know who you are), I FINALLY figured out what my issue was.

This also helped me figured something else out.

My writing process.

Took me long enough.

 

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And for all of you who keep asking me what my bloody book is about, here’s a blurb. Not “the” blurb, but “a” blurb.

 

Human or Hidden

Blair is free.

She wakes up in a forest, no idea how she got there, covered in blood and wearing broken chains.

But before she can enjoy her well earned freedom, she triggers a Merge of Realities, causing a cataclysmic series of events.

In the city of Zerzura, California, cut off from the rest of the world, Blair must fight down an ancient demonic presence (drawn by the Merge), escape the creatures trying to drag her back to slavery, decide if those drawn to her are allies or pawns, avoid the Blood-witches driven mad by the crashing Realities and rise above her own fatal doubts.

Mainly, is her freedom worth the ruin of the world?

(Horror/Fantasy/Paranormal)

 

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I will probably change this a million times – it started out twice as long with two questions in it – but a friend (you also know who you are) made a few suggestions and light bulbs attacked my head.

I wrote this up yesterday afternoon just to give critiquing peoples an idea of what Blair’s story is about. I know that the second to last sentence is like the LONGEST SENTENCE OF ALL LONG SENTENCES and I might need to change it. I’m kind of torn though because if you look at the back of a book, there are sentences this long. I dunno.

But like I said, I just threw it together. If you have any suggestions, go ahead and comment. If it doesn’t make sense, please let me know.

 

But anywho – I love the craziness surrounding critiques.

Being a writer, you’re supposed to have thick skin. But at the same time you’re supposed to be sensitive enough to write characters with real emotions and doubts. You have to be a rhino but empathize at the same time.

In the past, I haven’t had good experiences with critique partners. By bad experience, I mean, they didn’t critique my work, they told me that I was an idiot and should fly to New York and get to know literary agents and work on getting published their way.

Not helpful.

JOY OF ALL JOYS (not being sarcastic this time), I’ve had a new critique partner for more than a year now that is PURE AWESOME.

However, every author will tell you that you need a variety of opinions.

 

Smiley_green_alien_knockout.svg

 

The thing about critiques, for me, is that I want the truth.

And it’s not that the honest truth is going to hurt my feelings.

It’s that it’s going to make me feel stupid.

And I know it.

I’m going to read their critiques and feel like an uber idiot loser who can’t write for crap. I’ll want to dig a whole, crawl into it with a chocolate bar and die (after I eat the chocolate bar).

But then I’ll be okay and get uber excited over fixing my manuscript.

 

95px-Smiley_green_alien_unhappy.svg

*determined*

 

So – see? We writers are masochistic.

We rip out a piece of our soul, hand it over to strangers and ask them to rip it further to shreds. Then we take it back and agonize over it for a while. Then we get determined and want to make our story better.

It’s a never ending circle of eek!

 

But anywho of who’s, have a song. Amazing critique partner dude found this and tweeted it to me.

By the way, I love saying that. Tweet, tweeted, tweeting. lol

Okay, back on track. Love this song!

 

Are you a masochistic writer? Do you like critiques? Do you like this song? Do you have a bar of chocolate I could have?

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Filed under Creative Writing, Personal

My Issue with some Romance Novels

I’m not too sure I can clarify this because it’s steeped in emotional response and growling noises. And maybe some duct tape because I overdid it with the knife.
Just kidding.

Why am I not big on novels that are mainly romance novels?
In a short, one sentence answer: Due to the way women are treated by men.
It makes me want to stab things. Preferably male things.

 

I'm female, I'm an idiot!

I’m female, I’m an idiot!

In much longer than one sentence, this is why I do not like most romance novels (keep in mind that there are romance novels I like. I think):

I don’t find a man bullying his way into a woman’s life because he decides she needs his help as “romantic”.
And then they magically fall in love even though he’s treating her like a uselss child that can’t fight, defend, or think for itself. And I say ‘it’ because apparently she’s not a human being with human rights, thoughts or justifiable emotional responses.
But hey, he is so hot that her knees buckle, she melts, she gets instantly turned on to the extreme level of all levels – every single time that she sees/glances at/think about him, so that’s really all that matters. Clear indicator that they’re meant for one another. That and the fact that she can’t think straight when she’s in his presence.

 

Such a healthy relationship, totally based on mutual respect. Because real love equals submissive woman being bullied by a caveman with good looks, who knows how to handle every situation, takes command of everything and never had an emotional crack or vulnerability in his life. And if he does now, it’s all her fault and it’s definitely a bad thing.

 

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Emotions = bad, weak.
Women = too emotional. 
Everything they say can be written down to stupid female hormones. She doesn’t actually mean it. And if she does, she doesn’t know any better because she’s a silly emotional female.

 

And do you notice that most novels where the female main character is both strong and feminine – not losing the fact that she is a woman while still being intelligent and/or sturdy – are written by men? Women: what’s up with you? Why are you keeping this unrealistic and abusive crap up in your novels? Even the title reflects the woman as the object and the man the main character of the relationship.

 

Women are paraded out as strong and tough yet on the inside they are frightened and weak. And the man is strong, commanding, and an emotional bulldozer who never falters. So he discovers her vulnerability and has to protect her. Because she’s incapable of doing so herself on any level.

 

Man – uber strong, knows what’s going on, level headed, judgment not clouded by emotions, makes all decisions because he is wise and knows everything. Including what her decisions should be.

Woman – an idiot. Can’t make decisions. Needs to stay out of the bad guy situations because she doesn’t have male anatomy. Clearly this means she’s incapable of taking care of herself in any way.

 

heart box

And I can’t stand how the man makes a big deal in some explosive scene, going on about how the woman is helpless and an idiot who can’t make decisions for herself. And even though it makes her angry – they never talk about this. And the chick subtly ignores and then becomes okay with this. WHAT?! Three pages ago she was fuming and rightly so, thinking straight and seeing it for the misogynistic crap it is. Next she’s all gooey and he’s saving her and she loves him. 
Or – and this one really doesn’t make sense – after the explosive caveman scene of her helpless, him protector/taking all your rights as a human being away, she saves the day and they still go along with the ideal that he’s the strong one. And she is not.
*stabbity stab stab stab*

 

This is all I see when I read a romance novel. I don’t want to only see this. I really would like to find romance novels that don’t spread this bad relationship brainwashing. I go into it thinking it sounds good and I might like this one. But nope. Still the same thing. 
And just so you know, I only pick up romances when they include a plot other than the romance. You know, like some mysterious illness making resident were-creatures freak out and kill random people and the main peeps must find out what’s wrong and fix it. So I am not setting myself up for failure by reading a straight romance. But still – I end up grrrrr!

 

I think the only romance I read that didn’t have this misogynistic undertone (or explosive in your face misogyny) was a young adult novel by Melissa Marr that I read like seven years ago. Major props to this chick.

And to prove that I’m not only seeing what I want to see – I did read a paranormal romance recently that I liked. The female was weak and helpless. The male was strong and in the know on almost every subject. The few pages of the whole “male, lots of sex = awesome / female, sex at all, =whore she better not have” issue showed up because the novel was set in the past but I ignored it. Because it was the time period and they didn’t bring it up more than once. I liked the book, I still have it. And it was very romancey.

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I find that most people don’t agree with my assessment of romance novels. Most chicks I ask love them.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s the whole “ignore the small issues even though they are subtly brainwashing everyone into thinking it is right and should not be protested” thing. Because I’m just over reacting. The men should always protect women by taking away their choices and deciding for them that they are weak and need protecting. A.k.a. bullying.
Hand me that knife please.

 

As a side note, I am not against romance. At all. Or love or being vulnerable, sweet, mushy or emotional. I’m just against it being treated as if its weakness or inferior.

But that’s the beauty of stories – they’re extremely subjective. What I cannot stand, someone else may love. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.
But you were asking, so there’s my reason. ;)

*stabity stab*

 

Do you like romance novels? Does this issue bother you or is it pretty shrug worthy to you? Is there something else that bothers you or that you particularly love about romance novels?
Any book recommendations where women aren’t treated this way?

Don’t believe I’m being fair toward male/female roles and the way society treats it? Read this.

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Filed under Personal, Uncategorized

The Turn

Maybe I’m just dreaming.

There’s nothing left at all.

And every lie you’re telling

Helped me down to fall

 

I cannot say you pushed me

I know I made my choice

But really when you’re yelling

I cannot hear my voice

 

And so I’ll push back harder

Wait until I bleed

To rise from the rubble

Is all I’ll ever need

 

I’ve always known the truth

I’ve seen so many burn

And for my resurrection

I’ll watch you fall and turn

 

I know I shouldn’t watch

As you choke on the rope

But I’ve struggled there myself

That yours gives me hope

 

For every time I flailed

I knew there on the floor

Was your delicate form and hand

Holding me there once more

 

By Daphne Shadows

 

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Filed under Lyrical

The Story

You know, reading a really good book always gets me excited to write all over again. Like reinventing the wheel every few days, if the book was a good one.

The book I just finished wasn’t amazing, didn’t blow me out of the water fantabulous. But it was good, really good.

And that’s just the thing – now isn’t it?

That’s why we do this thing. Writing.

 

Regardless of the rewriting and critiquing and cringing when people tell you that your book has some major issues and you’re red with anger or green with vomit faced embarrassment. The burn of rejection when another literary agent doesn’t love your story. It rips your heart out and spins your head in twenty different directions. But you keep writing, rewriting, sending to beta readers, off for critiques and querying agents. It’s all because the story is swarming about in your head and it can’t be ignored. The characters – they’re people. They’re real. They live, they breathe. They have something to tell you, to show you. Something that means something to you.

And it’s beautiful and tragic and hideous and amazing all at once.

 

It’s nothing but a book to some people. Just a book. Ink and paper and binding and words strung into sentences that have no value other than the press bought to print it.

But to us – to me – the story is everything. It is who I am. All the stories living inside me. Taking flight with wings of night and scales and the bite of fanged smiles. The slow creep of cold, watchful morning, while the mist clears and the life blinks into blurred eyes and the silent things continue to creep away. Out of sight.

But mostly, the burn of life. Of poignancy and love, pain and struggle and fighting when no one else will. Living.

Muriel Rukeyser said, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

I tend to agree.

 

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If I Had a Title

I don’t remember where it came from or how I got on the subject but I was wondering what my title would be if I had a title. You know, like a noble person. Or a serial killer. And then I was like, um, I already have multiple. Duh. See here.

 

When I was younger: Paper Shredder

Oh yeah. I shredded paper for the sheer love of it. That and I had some anger issues (because I totally don’t now *rolls eyes*). I shredded paper that didn’t even need shredding. I know, wasteful, but it was better than shredding a human body. With my teeth. Just saying.

Oh, oh – and just two days ago I shredded a stack of WIP papers because I don’t have a paper shredder. Besides, they can put paper shredder papers back together if they’re dedicated enough. When you shred it by hand randomly? Harder to put back together. Not that anyone would want to put mine back together, but….

 

The shredding of the paper. It is fun. (this is Lucky by the way)

The shredding of the paper. It is fun. (this is Lucky by the way)

 

Great Food Person

I am the Great Food Person. I feed the mallows, the mum and the Lucky. Fear me. I will poison your food. Kidding! I have to eat it too…

 

OCD Daph and Germaphobe Daph

Heh. Yeah. OCD – I don’t actually have it. But I do like for everything to be neat, nice and precise. Where it should be. No excuses. If you had the energy and time to move it, you have the energy and time to move it back. Not that my OCD has imprinted on anyone else, but…*glare* Germaphobe – I drive my family crazy with this one, but I refuse to eat off of or drink out of food/drinks that anyone else has.

 

Fuzz Picker Upper

Lucky loves taking the stuffing out of stuffed animals and spreading it all throughout the house. That explains that. Following him around the living room and hallway picking up fuzz as I go.

I remember when he was a puppy-puppy, the ears off his blue elephant stuffed animal mysteriously disappeared. Come five am he drags me outside and starts puking up huge chunks of something. I’m freaking out thinking he’s vomiting up insides and then I pick through his puke (dog owner, this happens) and what do I find? Two plushy ears. Yeah. We watch him closely with his ginormous caterpillar stuffed animal now.

 

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This is a larger elephant. He didn’t try eating it’s ears. Thank heaven.

 

Writer

To be quite boring with that title. Yep. Writer. I guess I could get more inventive with that. Psycho Writer. Choco-Writer. Zombie-Psycho-Choco-Writer.

I dunno.

 

I f I was Native American, it’d be:

….Actually I am Native American, so let me rewrite that. If I had a Native title, it would be…

 

Non-Affected by Adorable Faces

True story. Puppy dog eyes don’t work on me. Not from the puppy dog or the mallows. Yes, you are adorable of all adorableness, but no, you may not use the duct tape on the neighbor.

 

Walks into Walls

Sad but true. Being a zombie can be dangerous. Especially for walls.

Ha – and my last name has Wall in it. Ha ha! Okay… moving on.

 

Walls. I walk into these.

Walls. I walk into these.

 

Trips over Dog

Self explanatory. And I hate it when I do that! I feel so bad. Even though I just broke my face, elbows, knees and back, I’m just hoping he doesn’t hate my guts.

 

Wisher of Doings

Okay, this one is bad. There are so many things I wish I could do, could start, could be. But I just keep on wishing.

 

Talks in Sleep

Yep. A lot.

 

Laughs in Sleep

Amazing feat. Especially since I don’t wake up.

 

Sings in Sleep

Yes – I really do this! Apparently (since it’s not like I can hear myself when I’m unconscious) I sing in my sleep. And it doesn’t wake me up. Strangest thing ever!

 

Hater of the Talking on the Phone

Also self-explanatory. I will text and not be annoyed. Talking on the phone? I loathe it. You better have a good, amazing reason for calling me. Or I might stab you. Through the phone. Because that is the level of my grrrr.

 

This + Me Talking =

This + Me Talking =

War!

War!

 

 

Pterodactyl Swing

When in my freshman year of high school, I attempted a golf team residency (STOP LAUGHING!), I had a problem with my swing. When I hadn’t practiced for a while, we’d laugh and say it looked like a drunk pterodactyl who was trying to swing a golf club. Yeah.

 

Oh, oh, and also – not a title, but I told someone I’d explain this – when I was golfing once, I’d had a horrible run and was on the last hole. Close to the green, there was a group of geese, carrying on and making noise. I hit the ball – best hit of the entire day – and hit a goose in the head. It’s wings flailed like some comic book strip character and it got up and warbled away eventually. It was totally fine but the whole scene was hilarious. It was probably one of those things that you had to be there for it to be funny, but yeah.

I’ve also been attacked by a bumblebee on the green and no one saw. Even though there were three people and a teacher standing there with me. I was running around and trying to get it away from my face, yelling and they missed the whole thing. Brain damage anyone? They were three feet from me!

So dear golfing people, I’m not big on golfing.

 

Pterodactyl right here.

Pterodactyl right here.

 

Anywho – there are so many titles I could come up with, but that would take forever. Although I’m sure that as soon as I publish this post I will think of like five titles that would fit me way better.

What would your title be if you had one? Or do you already have one (many)?

Why is your title what it is?

(wow that grammar right there made my eyes bleed)

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