Thursday, January 26, 2006

Romance Defenders on the Internet

“… the critics don't matter, the readers do; we don't write to please establishments, we write to reach women. And by writing good books, we counteract decades of pessimism with narratives of realistic optimism…”
What a GREAT quote!
In looking around to see just what people say on the internet in defense of romance as a genre I came across an article by Jennifer Cruisie. A name I had of course heard of. It’s an article that makes for very interesting reading and probably covers the romance genre as a whole more than category/short contemporary alone. But there are still parts I can read in there that make absolute sense to me. A couple of which I have here and the entire article you can read at the link above.
She talks in part about modern day women and the pre-conceptions/mis-conceptions that are attached to them. Now I’m a modern day woman. I’m an independent, free-thinking, hopefully open-minded, modern day woman. And I am of course eternally grateful for all the generations of women who went before me and fought for me to be those things. But the one thing I think we did manage to do along the way was, to a certain extent, make it way more difficult for men and for love. Maybe that’s why we still like to pick up a good romance? Even if we are women fortunate enough to have found it in real life.
Just talk to any career girl anywhere in the world and she’ll tell you how tough it is on the dating scene these days. And yet we all still want to believe its out there, that we can meet someone who doesn’t necessarily complete us, but who could compliment our lives and encourage us. Reading a good romance can help us to continue believing its possible, right? We can be alone on a Friday or a Saturday night, wear our comfiest jammies, eat ice-cream and lose ourselves in a good romance for a few hours so that we come out the other side saying ‘yeah, wouldn’t it be nice?’ And maybe we still believe just that little bit more…
Mind you. Maybe we come out the other end thinking, ‘Yeah right, like that’ll ever happen to me’ and we eat MORE ice-cream…
But either way, we think about it. Those little gray cells get a bit of an exercise and the heart gets going. And that’s GOTTA be a good thing. Good fiction in any form is escapism after all. If we pick anything up from it that we can carry into real life to help us along then all the better.
It’s the readers we seek to engage and to entertain. And in the words of the talented Ms. Cruisie:
“We entertain, we enlighten, we empower, and in the end we influence far more people than any of our critics ever will. As much fun as it might be to bring the critics to their knees, we really don't need to. In every way that matters, we've already won.”
It’s up to each and every reader to decide if we do at the end of the day. The sales are what tell the story without a shadow of a doubt. And millions of women world-wide can’t be wrong…
So girls, are you with me on this?


Melissa James said...

Definitely with you, Trish! As someone who's been flayed by some cruel reviews as much as uplifted by fabulous ones, and both for the same book, I know how subjective - and creativity-destroying - it can be. I've decided to write the best book I can and not look at bad reviews from now on (in fact, I didn't look for my last two books!)

Liz Fielding said...

Jennifer Crusie is inspirational on the subject, Trish, and her romance, Bet Me, is one of my favourite books.