Who Else Hates Genre Labels?

The White Cockade by Edward Martin
The White Cockade by Edward Martin


“There is a stereotype of literary fiction shared by both science fiction readers and non-science fiction readers: that academically-sanctioned, “serious” contemporary fiction is all about dull middle-class people having affairs, and that the writers of this fiction do such things as use a couple hundred pages to describe events that could quite easily be described in a paragraph.”


An interesting thread on romance in fantasy writing:

“But for people who want verisimilitude and detailed characterizations, romance is going to be there. Real people deal with romance in their actual lives. It’s a huge part of being human.

Romance doesn’t mean the book is plot-less or spends all its time dealing with vampire-werewolf three-ways. Badly written romance means the book is plot-less or spends all its time dealing with vampire-werewolf three-ways.” unconundrum


“The stereotype is not just about elevating certain works of fiction, but overdetermining their value.”

13 STRUGGLES OF BEING A ROMANTIC WHO HATES ROMANCE (this one doesn’t have much to do with books. Just a fun read.

“(And yes, you cried deeply at The Notebook, and hated yourself for every minute of it.)”



18 responses to “Who Else Hates Genre Labels?”

  1. Like you, I hate labels, and like an historical setting. For me, there must be an emotional content enabling me to identify with at least some of the characters – that’s why I don’t like Jane Austen


  2. I like books that I consider well written, and I’ve found great books in every genre.

    I dislike sloppy writing, poor plot construction, characters who aren’t three-dimensional. I dislike sophomoric silliness and loathe formulaic books. I dislike titillating sex, violent or abusive sex, and descriptions of sexual acts. But I do like reading about relationships and the way they develop/fall apart.

    I love writers who consistently write well, who deliver ideas that engage me, unique plots with unexpected consequences, employing language to convey the human condition. If an historic element is presented, I want the writer to know what she’s writing about and not throw in nonsense because she hasn’t bothered to do any research to get it right.

    Some prize winning work bores me, some less well known books remain at the top of my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! A woman who knows what she likes! πŸ˜‰ Books are like Gwyenth Paltrow in the 90’s–she had the “it” factor. It’s an elusive thing but we all know what we like when we find it (or write it!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Genre labels drive me crazy. Much of the stuff I write transcends genre boundaries. I suppose if you put time travel in a story it’s automatically “science fiction,” but that seems pretty arbitrary. Conversely, I recently wrote a book focusing on love stories. Someone, a romance writer, once told me that a story is not “romance” if there’s not a happily-ever-after ending. I wrote the ending of my story specifically to flout that convention–it doesn’t have a happy ending so I guess it’s not romance. (And there are no vampire-werewolf three-ways, and the story doesn’t involve a beefcake Scottish highlander either). I think we should do away with genres. Just tell people what your story is about.


    • Yes!!! I hate the idea that ONLY romance novels can end happily. Some relationships in real life actually work after a struggle or two or seven.

      I love history. To me it’s like time travel, yet except for my first novel I’d say my books are sagas set in the 19th century but not really historical fiction. I like how in film there are “period pieces.”

      “Just tell people what your story is about.” PERFECT.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I dislike the same things that Sharon dislikes! I do love lengthy description sometimes, and I’m a sucker for a great narrator (I’m thinking right now of the narrator in Oliver Twist and in a novel by Anthony Trollope called He Knew He Was Right). I asked my cousin (a brilliant CFO of a major company) what she liked to read. She replied: books that have no description, no symbolism, just a great plot. Ha! She won’t want to read my novel which will have lots of description and symbolism!!!


    • Wallace Stegner seemed to have the perfect mix for me: deep, wonderful characters, beautiful descriptive passages and nice plotting. There is a kindness in his writing, a sense that he loved and respected his characters. I adore him.

      People love Harry Potter. I don’t get it. πŸ™‚

      What’s your novel about?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will have to explore Stegner’s work. My (dormant) novel is waiting for revival, and is the story of one woman’s struggle with family and loss. It will take some real effort to recall my initial plans for it, and I suspect what will happen is that I will re-think it entirely, making it a different thing altogether. Right now I have a few projects lined up. Which work by Stegner would be the best one for a starter?


  5. Commenting on carlamcgill’s comment, what on earth is a book with no description, no symbolism, just a great plot? And Sharon (above) says it all beautifully.


  6. Check out the Amazon categories used for the novel, A Land Remembered, by Patrick D. Smith, — #41 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical > Cultural Heritage
    #218 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Family Saga
    You would probably enjoy the novel, but the Cultural Heritage tag is something you may want to consider. Your categories of Family Life and Family Saga may be too redundant and hurt your outreach.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: