A trend that I have noticed in the recent months are reviewers/journalists (both bloggers and paid reviewers) placing books/genres/tropes within boxes.
And if the book steps out of this box, they automatically do not like the book. Or if the genre isn’t a recognized purveyor of literary genius – dismissing it with snobbish disdain. Statements like:
“I can’t enjoy a book that has a love-triangle in it…that is such a Young Adultish thing to do! Any book that has a love-triangle in it is amateurish and over-done.”
“Werewolves and Vampires are supposed to be scary. I can’t read anything that has them as the love interest. They should be in horror only. Who can like a book with a vampire as sexy?”
“Contemporary Romance should not use such explicit language. This is erotica! The Romance genre is declining if this is what is hot!”
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, broad stereotypical statements and opinions tend to marginalize us and put things in little boxes and creativity does not survive in boxes. Books are supposed to be creative outlets, fiction novels are ideas, portrayed with words, figments of an author’s beautiful imagination. When you shove an author in a box, tell them…if you are writing this sort of novel, you can only have this, that, and those elements in them…well, the output is just going to be a regurgitation of the novels that defined these tropes from the beginning. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of regurgitation.
But, if you like that sort of thing…if you want only certain types of books, here are a few suggestions. Might I suggest reading them over and over again? Wouldn’t want to leave your comfort zone.
If we all liked boxes…
Fantasy Fiction would be restricted to alternative universes that have elements of magic and the supernatural. Mages would only see the light of day within the Fantasy genre and it’s subgenres.
Within Horror Fiction you would only be able to find your werewolves, vampires and other loathsome creatures.
*even though incorporating supernatural elements in horror novels was considered Gothic
Paranormal Romance – PNR would only occur with “normal” paranormal elements, not the horrific. Paranormal Romances would only occur between humans with special abilities, like psychics, telekinetics, or Long Island Mediums…time travel romances would be the mainstream of this subgenre.
Young Adult fiction would simple be that, books directed to Young Adults. A Single Teen Issue tackled within the genre. Nothing more. They would all be set in High School because well, Young Adults go to High School and they would all be about high school, teen problems.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to read regurgitated titles. I want to read fresh original novels, with new ideas. While the idea of organic, vegetarian vampires that drive Prius’, like Dianne Duvall’s vampire paranormal romances, isn’t exactly my thing (I like my vampires with a little more fang) the idea is fresh and new and she should be applauded for stepping out of the PNR box. Same with vampires that sparkle, werewolves that can take multiple shapes, and fantasy novels that do not have magic or dragons as the main trope.
Don’t put an Author in a Box
If you don’t like that type of fiction, say so, “I don’t like Young Adult Paranormal titles, so the book didn’t do it for me.” Don’t shame with stereotypical statements about the genre in general. This makes people embarrassed if they like to read that type of books and authors think twice when they go to write that sort of novel. So, with all kindness and respect. STFU.