Genre snobs are (unfortunately) common. I don’t mean people who prefer a specific genre, btw. I mean the people who think every genre outside of their own preferred genre is garbage. They have a tendency to put other writers and readers down, saying that they read nothing but fluff, because let’s face it, their genre is the only meaningful one.
I’ve seen a lot of genre snobs in the past few weeks. Now, part of that is because of the stories people have come forward with since I posted about this on social media last month. So many people have encountered this problem, and it is absolutely shocking.
But I’ve also encountered them personally, being told that “Romance is written by and for idiots,” which is crap. I love romance (writing and reading), and while I’m not the smartest person in the world, I’m not an idiot. Not by any means.
I’ve also heard that googling good dialogue will turn up mostly crime writers and that only dystopian, crime, or satire (or other similar genres/subgenres) can be used for profound writing.
I just can’t wrap my head around it.
The idea that only certain types of stories can be used to convey deep, meaningful concepts is absolute horseshit.
In my thriller novella, Annabelle, I tackle the topic of sexual assault and the fact that we need to speak up and do something about it. All while telling a compelling story.
In The Gem of Meruna (high fantasy romance, two genres literary elitists abhor), I explore death/grief, inner strength, and the effects of one corrupt, violent person on an otherwise peaceful community.
In Soul Bearer (also high fantasy romance), themes of oppression and prejudice abound, as does the importance of integrity.
World for the Broken (post-apocalyptic romance) hits just about every possible tough subject, exploring resilience and the darkness within humanity.
In Salt and Silver (dark supernatural high fantasy romance, so many genres that are looked down on by genre snobs), I pit emotion against intellect and perception of self against how others perceive us. I also look at religion and the afterlife (and how little we know about either).
The story I’m writing now, another dark high fantasy romance, explores nature vs technology, progress vs tradition, and the need for balance in our lives.
In short, every genre can express or explore important themes.
And you know why?
Because all stories, at their base, are about the human condition. All stories contain conflict, regardless of genre, pitting two or more sides against each other. The premise of that conflict, the depth of the story is up to the author.
Not the genre.
You can write about corrupt government in fantasy. You build the world, so it can be as fucked up as you want.
You can write about the effects of religion on society in supernatural novels. (I did in Salt and Silver. Sure, I made the religions up, but they draw parallels to real religions.)
Basically, you can write deep, meaningful content in any genre. You can also write fluff in any genre (even satire, even dystopian, even crime). Therefore, no genre automatically makes you a better, more profound writer.
I think the real difference between genre elitists and other writers has to do with their motives for writing, not their ability to solve philosophical debates.
Now, many people write to send a message or make a point. They have an opinion and want to use fiction to convey it. Which is fine. That doesn’t make them an elitist.
But literary elitists…always do that.
Because they have something to prove.
They write to show other people how smart they are. Obviously, if they can write a novel with tons of symbolism and “world changing” themes, they must be better than everyone else.
As long as they make their point, they can lord it over everyone else and act superior, even if shoving their philosophy down everyone’s throat hindered the story and led to a convoluted mess of words. And if you don’t like their book or their genre of choice, that just means you’re “too dumb to understand.”
Of course, that’s not the truth.
It’s just a defense mechanism to avoid listening to any criticism, constructive or otherwise. It’s cutting people off before anyone gets a chance to point out where they fall short. It’s (possibly) hiding deep-seated insecurities.
So if a genre snob is putting you down and saying your story will be trash because you write in a trash genre…don’t worry about it. Most of the time, the people who are absolutely convinced that they’re smarter than everyone else…are actually…not.
Personally, I’d rather write a solid story, anyway. I never go into a story for the sake of making a point. If it develops to include some deeper observation of our world, great. If not, that’s fine. I’m in it for the story, not the clout.
Now, to tell you all what I’ve been up to over the past week.
I designed and ordered book swag for World for the Broken! I’ll be sharing the designs with all of you later this week. I also ordered proof copies of the book, did a lot of research for release week, and made some decisions regarding marketing.
And I made some headway on my newest WIP. I’ve added a lot to it in the past couple weeks, so I don’t think an updated word count will be a spoiler for where characters get…broken.
I’m now at 32,663 words.
I need to get back into editing Where Darkness Leads. But that is a task for another night.
Keep reading. Keep writing.