Shades of Grey

I haven’t read the book(s). Though there is a side issue, raised by Julia Molony, which is that romance novels in general (and their sluttier cousins erotica) have been “hijacked” by consumerism. As though it’s not bad enough for women to be swooning over impossibly handsome men with bulging muscles, rapier wit, and the ability to read our minds and bodies at every moment, we also are swept away in rapture by the size of their enormous … wallets.

This disturbs Ms. Molony. If it’s not some glittering duke in his obnoxiously huge castle (with a swanky townhouse in London, natch) or a swaggering hunk of a pirate captaining the largest ship on the seas, it’ll be a ruthless CEO in an Armani suit slitting the financial throats of his competitors. Why can’t heroes be math teachers or cable guys or pharmacists? Must they always supplement their mad bedroom skillz with gifts of expensive jewelry and luxury cars and tropical trips for their ladylurves?

Oh, I don’t know, Julia. Why doesn’t Playboy ever have a 45 year old overweight centerfold? It’s so bothersome…

Actually she’s wrong. Like many writers these days, she has to find something to complain about to get an article published and bashing romance novels is always popular. In fact, there are plenty of ordinary guys in romances. Cops are a big fave and last I heard, they don’t make zillions of dollars. The novel I have slated to read next features a hunky Idaho veterinarian who is holding a kitten on the book cover (he’s bare-chested, so this is very brave). In 27 Dresses the actual hero Kevin was a struggling journalist.

So yeah, there are insanely wealthy men featured in some romance/erotica lit. And there are normal middle class heroes in other books. (True, you probably won’t find the unemployed drug addict. That’s a different genre.) And while back “in the day” romances did over-feature the 17 year old impossibly beautiful slim goddess virgin heroine, that isn’t true now either. You’ll find older women, heavier women, women who’ve been married and divorced, with kids, with problems, et cetera. There are a lot of books out there ~ all kinds of shades of grey, as it were. But sure, take a few and do your selection bias, Julia.

Well, I don’t care anymore what people think of romances/erotica. It’s one of the hottest markets and not easy to break into, despite the piles of trash out there. But that’s true for any genre and even “literary fiction.” This is why I’m thinking of going the self-pub route, for both romance and my other stuff. I work full-time and writing will always be a hobby, not a career, so I don’t want to spend much of my free time on researching various publishing houses, fretting over query letters, making submission/rejection charts, etc. I just want to write when I’m in the mood to write. That’s it.

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5 responses to “Shades of Grey

  1. write when Iā€™m in the mood to write

    That states my goal too, rather succinctly. Present time is over-filled with things, requirements, distractions, jobs, people, problems, dramas, good times, broken objects, persistent ephemera, unmet plans, half-baked scams, dreams undone, and broken shoelaces for that to happen now. But Someday is the eighth day of the week, no?

    A writer (met in his capacity as lawyer, but anyway) yesterday suggested I try screenplays. They’re inherently structured and it fits my tendency at times to launch into long dialogs, and they have a bigger market than books, and they are sometimes readily adapted to computer / video games. But, eh.

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  2. AD - Sticking Up For Po' Folk Again

    Write. I’ll read it. I’ll get people I know to read it. I think the “rich dude” scenario is based to some degree on reality.

    When you have some studmuffin who can’t afford to get to the swooner, works 12 hours a day for sorta pay, or spends an appreciable amount of his time trying to sort out how to pay for another tank of gas before payday, and can’t afford to sky off to Rio (or even Biloxi) and buy a day or two of hotels, meals, and fancy doings on a whim, it’s damned tough to get the motion in motion, so to speak. So, either the local pool boy or some high-dollar sort who can afford to flit around bodice-ripping instead of doing something useful are pretty much your choices that will work even in a broadly non-logical genre.

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  3. Yay for writing when you’re in the mood to write and taking control of your writing yourself. šŸ™‚

    There also seem to be a lot of cowboys/ranchers in romances who aren’t rich, right? Plus bandit/outlaws. If the bandits were rich, why would they bother?

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  4. There is what’s-his-name in Titanic. The poor guy who is smart and resourceful, which gives the author something to work with besides being able to change location quickly and have fun and interesting pastimes and powerful friends.

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  5. It’s women’s fantasy porn and women like teh money. NTTAWT.

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