Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Romancing the Troglodytes

Dear Editor,

I'm confused. That fact has nothing to do with this letter, other than as a possible excuse for my rambling.

For years now, I was under the impression that people loved a happy ending. Our murder mysteries, our fantasy and sci-fi, our dramas, our sit-coms...they all have happy endings. Even our soap operas, if they had endings, would end happily (if to very bad music.)

We like the good guy to win, the bad guy, at the very least, to get his head shaved with a cheesegrater, and any love interests to end satisfactorily with boy getting girl.

Lest anyone be tempted to board a vertically enhanced equine, I'll agree that, understandably, the HEA is not a requisite for literary fiction or for Movies for Guys Who Like To Be Depressed. I read to be depressed and impressed once in a while myself. But by and large, even horror films try to end with the monster blown to chunky bits with irregular edges to make fitting them back together take long enough to film a sequel.

I said I was confused. Oh all right. To the point.

What is it about romance that makes people who don't read it feel so damned superior? Try for one second to ignore the clinch covers and the purple back-cover copy. Why are people so threatened by romance? I have been fortunate so far in that my only encounters with this attitude have been brief, light-hearted, and easily deflected.

But as I was shopping the other day, a man walked by a box of series romances and said to his fellow shopper, "Ya know, when I retire, I'm gonna write those." I asked him if he had any writing talent. He said "Who needs it?" Then I asked him what was his favorite prime-time sit-com. He said "Family Guy."

Forgive me for tempting you with the urge to agree with this literary giant (who will soon, if my curse works, develop a scabby rash in places he can't reach) but I wanted the opinion of an expert. Barring an available expert, I'm asking you.

What should have been my response to this man?

A proud Charter Pharter
and purveyor of smut with happy endings.


Blogger Dian said...

The guy's comments were hardly worth a response. If he ever tries to write (and he was probably just blowing off steam to his friend) he'll find that it isn't all that easy.) I'm in favor of happy endings. I think readers of genre fiction expect it and feel cheated if it doesn't happen. We're writing the equivalent of fairy tales. It's only literary critics who burble over tragic or ambiguous endings.

Another Pharter
(who would also be writing smut except that my publisher has a whole stable of smut purveyors.)

12:58 PM  
Blogger James Lincoln Warren said...

I'm still trying to figure out what he said that was wrong, or doesn't apply to all the other genres. Are we not hacks?

8:07 PM  
Blogger Jan Conwell said...

Nothing he said was wrong. A condenscending attitude toward all commercial writing is entirely appropriate, and we should seriously consider ourselves lucky they don't actually spit on us.

Thank you for keeping my feet on the ground. I knew I could count on you!


5:16 AM  

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