Reading The Genre You Write
Today’s Brew: Blueberry Mountain Goodness
I read a lot. I’m not one of those 5 books a week kind of girls, but I devour a few a month. I don’t go anywhere without a book. And I’m open to trying just about anything, although I tend always leans towards paranormal and a lot of my books come from the YA section of Barnes and Noble, simply because it’s the best merchandised section of the store. Presentation does matter, kids. I really enjoy biographies and I’m trying to catch up on some of the classics.
Lately I’ve made an effort to read more vampire romances, since my books feature romance with vampires. As a writer, I look at books now differently than when I read before I cracked open my manuscript. Much more critically. I’m aware of tropes, character development, and conflict. I miss just reading without my inner editor pointing her finger at things.
I noticed a few themes emerging. Tiny, spunky, usually virginal heroines that are master flirts and usually unbearable cockteases. Big burly vampire kings from Scotland or some other super white place who haven’t had sex since Jesus walked the earth. They are all rich, rich, rich. One doesn’t want the other, but they can’t resist each other. Once our two heroes finally wind up in bed, somehow our heroine winds up with super powers! She singlehandedly takes down whole army that vampire king has battled unsuccessfully for centuries.
Prologue: Two years later, She-ra can’t believe that Thor is her actually husband. They look out onto the sunset with their two babes, Baby She-ra and Thor Junior and live happily ever after. Awww.
You guys, this so isn’t my book. My vampires aren’t old,they have sex on the regular, my characters aren’t all white, they aren’t royalty, they try to save the day, but….well, I’ll let you find out what happens. As publication day looms, I find myself getting nervous about things that shouldn’t matter. Like, is there a secret formula I’m supposed to follow when I write my book to guarantee people like it? I read like three of these books described above in a row. All by different authors. Do people want to read about characters that are more like them than royalty? Will readers be open to something different? Will they be mad if they pick up my book, expecting something like that and getting my story instead?
Everyone says they’re looking for something different, yet these are all best selling books, and they’re all very similar. I’m not saying they’re bad AT ALL, I just noticed a very clear theme.
Julie made a great point the other day. She’s noticed agents are looking for something fresh and new, but publishers want a sure thing. I think this is where self publishing has the biggest advantage. Books that don’t quite fit in the neat little genre boxes get a chance for the public to know and love them. Then the public can get what they really want, not what someone else has already chosen for them.