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Genre Reading: Is “Escapism” a Bad Thing?

Barrel-of-monkey toys linked inside jar to the top edge with text: Can Readers Escape with a Story?

Certain types of reading are sometimes valued more than others. One descriptive term that’s often used as a put-down for genre stories is escapism, but is romance or any other genre story really “escapism”? What does that mean? Is escapism a “bad” thing, and if so, why?

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April 18, 2017

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What Does Your Genre’s Theme Promise to Readers?

Field of green grass with text: What's Your Genre's Promise?

Theme is one of those concepts that can be hard to understand, but by understanding themes, we’ll better satisfy our readers. In the recent debate about the romance genre’s requirement for a happy ending, the controversy comes down to themes, believe it or not. *smile*

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March 24, 2016

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Subjectivity and Reader Shaming

A woman with her head in her hands with text: Have You Ever Been "Reader Shamed"?

If we write genre fiction, we might bemoan the lack of respect, but the same lack of respect occurs at the reader level too. Readers of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, young adult, and romance have also been looked down on. Many outsiders have attempted to make readers ashamed of their reading choices by judging by subjective measures.

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August 11, 2015

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Is “Love Conquers All” Realistic?

Close-up of a rose with text: How Powerful Is Love?

Every month or so, there’s an author or blogger or journalist making news by putting romance stories down. “They give women unrealistic expectations!” they say. Right. Are they unrealistic because romances end with love and a Happily Ever After? Or do the naysayers think true love isn’t possible or that it isn’t powerful enough to conquer and overcome obstacles? That’s just sad.

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February 12, 2015

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Banned Books? Or Freedom to Write and Read?

Blue sky beyond barbed wire fence with text: Banned Books? Or Freedom to Choose?

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. Many have already blogged about the political aspects of this event, so I’m tackling this issue from a less serious perspective. Sort of. *smile*

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September 23, 2014

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Story Tropes: Should We Avoid Them?

Field of tulips in Holland with text: Are Story Tropes Always Cliches--and Bad?

Several months ago, I saw a fascinating Storify by Carina Press editor Angela James. I meant to do a post about the issue she brought up, but I often have more blog post ideas than time. With my recent articles about subtext, genre stories, formulaic writing, and my guest post […]

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August 22, 2013

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Are Genre Stories More Stupid?

Pacific Rim poster from ComicCon with text: Does "Genre" = Stupid?

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a genre girl. I prefer genre stories (of almost any genre) over most literary fiction. Ditto for movies. Give me an action, sci-fi, comic book, or adventure story, and I’ll be there buying tickets. Even for the cheesy ones like Green […]

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August 8, 2013

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What Is the Goal of Ranting?

xkcd's Comic: Duty Calls: "Someone is WRONG on the internet."

*sigh*  It’s happened again.  An author has insulted other authors and a huge percentage of readers.  Why do people do this? Between social media, the interrelationships of the publishing industry, and the permanent nature of the internet, news of negativity travels far and wide.  Sure, we can’t spout unicorns and […]

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January 26, 2012

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Do You Enjoy Fantastical Stories?

Paranormal/moody image of a woman in front of a stone cross in moonlight

We’ve talked about the importance of keeping our stories believable, but the fantasy genre (and all its subgenres) require certain aspects to be unrealistic. Character types and plot points involving dragons, superheroes, vampires, etc. are all beyond the reality of our world.  What does that mean for the reader? A […]

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November 29, 2011

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