If you’re going to be insulting

Cross-posted from Writers Gone Wild:

If You’re Going To Be Insulting, At Least Be Original!

By Maree Anderson  (for Writers Gone Wild)

Hi y’all,

Can’t think of much that’s interesting to say today. Must be the weather, here. It’s dire. Not at all inspiring. So I’ll resort to my tried and true filler when I’m lacking in the inspiration department.

Yes, it’s Getting All Linky and a Wee Bit Ranty, Part 2!

First up is this little gem from the independent student newspaper of Tufts University, rather unimaginatively known as The Tufts Daily. But let’s not insult them for their lack of imagination. Because, yanno, we romance writers are nicer than that…. right? Right. Unlike the author of this article: From guilty pleasures to academic heavy lifting, the summer book season has it all, who IMHO, is the queen of the backhanded compliment.

I’m with the Smart Bitches (Who Read Trashy Books) on this one. I find it quite fascinating how many times the author of this article manages to insult a book she’s actually recommending. That, my dears, takes true talent, don’t you think?

However, it doesn’t take any talent at all to resort to sad, tired, and let’s face it, totally unimaginative clichés that we’ve all heard before ad nauseam with regards to romance novels.

Clichés. Gee. Let’s count them, shall we? Just for fun?

  1. guilty pleasure;
  2. the suggestion that if you read this featured romance you have “no shame in your literary taste”;
  3. smutty sex scenes;
  4. The suggestion that you must be “desperate” to “resort to reading a trashy vampire romance novel”, and
  5. (my personal favorite) you should buy it on Kindle to avoid being judged in public.

IMHO, this write-up smacks of protesting a little too much. Dare I suggest that the article’s author loved this book with a passion that should only be reserved for scoffing dark chocolate and an excellent Merlot? And then was all, “Oh noes what will people think of me if I say, ‘OMG, this was totally awesome!  I loved it! You gotta read it!!!!’”. So she chickened out and resorted to parroting what readers of “literary” novels have come to expect whenever the romance genre is compared to literary novels…. As you do.

Hmmm. I wonder.

Moving right along, I present another stunning example of cliché-ridden claptrap. Oooh. Did you notice the alliteration there??? What can I say: I’m a natural.

This time it’s from the Daily Mail online: The Blue Rinse Bodice Rippers: In twin-sets and pearls meet the ladies behind Britain’s steamiest novels.

If you will, check out this caption beneath the cartoon picture of a Barbara Cartland clone romance author:

“More than 100 of the country’s leading romantic fiction writers were middle-aged and elderly women in their pearls and support tights.”

Oh really? Numerous romance authors are currently updating their profile pictures on Facebook to prove otherwise.

I didn’t bother counting the clichés in this particular article because frankly, there were so many I got bored. But right from the start the article’s author defends herself thusly:

“OK, I know it’s a bit over the top but I’m about to enter a room filled  with more than 100 of the country’s leading romantic fiction writers and I’m trying to get into character.”

Golly gee. Thanks for that. I guess that makes it all okay, then….


So to finish, I’d like to say this: People. If you’re going to insult the romance community–its authors and readers alike–can you please at least come up with something the least bit original?



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2 Responses to “If you’re going to be insulting”

  1. It does get old, doesn’t it, Maree. Go you.

    • Thanks, Eleni. I’m just sooo tired of hearing this sort of trite nonsense. And from women, too! I’ve kinda come to expect it from men. Actually, just spotted this explanation from Smart Bitch Sarah, which sums romance up beautifully for me:

      “In romances, the woman’s experience, in every possible permutation, is a major part of the focus of the novel. Romances are valuable because they allow exploration of female experience, which also makes them hard to describe and defend to those who are hell-bent on dismissing and mocking them. A single romance can connect with a reader’s heart, mind and body, providing emotional recognition, provoking thoughtful debate, and inciting tears and excitement. That is why romance readers are so defensive of our genre—or, at least, I am. The books I love are important to me on a personal level, and the relationship I have with my favorite novels is an intimate one.”

      Yeah. What she said!