Monday, July 5, 2010

Cups of (literary) tea & our WINNER!

I'm not much of a tea drinker. I wish I was because it sounds so refined and elegant.

I mentioned in a previous post that my first boss when I was an editor at LSU was from England, and she observed a strict tea time every day.

She taught me so many little niceties. Not going to rehash--that's all in my "Spring is Springing" (March 9) post.

Anyway, so I've been thinking about books and genre and what appeals to different readers and what doesn't. Of course, I'm also thinking about agents...

The other night I looked at JRM and me sitting up in bed reading. He was holding a block of wood entitled TRUMAN. I was clutching my shiny copy of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Being naturally curious, I leaned over to him.

LTM: What's Truman doing?
JRM: They're making the atomic bomb.
LTM: Sounds.... interesting. (Yik!)
JRM: What do you think it says about humanity that we've had the bomb for 60 years and it hasn't been used.
LTM: We love our children.

Personally, that sort of reading doesn't relax me. I start wondering if I'm getting credit for the course. But to JRM it is fascinating...

I boarded this train of thought because I need a critique partner. (One of those non-relative, husband or friend types.) And I was pondering if it's really necessary for him/her to prefer the genre you write in. I think it is, but could I be wrong?

I recently "met" a fellow blogger who's writing fantasy books. This very imaginative (and good!) writer suggested I read his WIP, but I had to come clean--I think I'd be a terrible helper with fantasy fiction. (The true kind, I mean. The kind JRM devours.)

I felt bad. But I think my answer was correct. I've tried many times to read fantasy, and I always follow the same pattern: my mind starts to wander and I get lost (you really have to pay attention to fantasy). Then I'm faced with having to start over, and instead I just put the book down and grab a good-ole escapist YA romance.

(Not genre romance, mind you. I get the itch if I can feel the formula in a book I'm reading.)

But maybe that wasn't the right answer. Maybe having a critique partner who's not a big fan of the genre in which you write would make him/her more likely to catch problems...

I don't know.

Last weekend we hosted two of JRM's old law school buddies who are serious fantasy fans. I asked them what it is about the genre that appeals to them. Is it the descriptions? The worlds? The literary devices (e.g., time travel, quests, magic). They couldn't really say.

I don't think anybody can. That's like saying why you prefer chocolate over vanilla.

At the very least I like knowing there's a genre for everyone.

Mine's more the love story-anything genre, although I have to admit an aversion to creatures. LOTR was not my bag, baby. Sorry. So the love story-anything without creatures genre.

JRM: There are no creatures in The Dragonriders of Pern.
LTM: Do the dragonriders fall in love?

That's all for today, kids. I hope you all had a super 4th! I'm actually on the road headed back home, so let's all thank Flower the cat for today's post.

Read on, readies~

Contest WINNER! Random number generator pulled the Number 2 out of the hat this a.m., and the lovely and talented HOLLY DODSON is the winner of our fun little book contest.

This is so appropriate since Holly reviews books on her blog, "Super Mom Writes," which I encourage you all to scurry over and check out right now (click on the name). Yay, Holly, and yay everyone who played. It was fun meeting new book lovers and "hearing" your thoughts.


Natasha said...

I am a tea drinker, though not strictly out of choice. I was advised to give up coffee last year, and I know the only way I could do it was by substituting it with something else. Tea works!!!

And I am not the fantasy kind either. I liked Nariana which was essentially about people, and I like reading about people with magical powers, but dragons, and elves and all those other things just makes me shut off. Not sure if I would be able to do justice to reviewing a fantasy.

Portia said...

The critique aspect is hard. I've had critique partners who write young adult, and I would always struggle when they began to ask genre related questions. Eventually, I had to start reading a little young adult to catch up!

LTM said...

@Portia & Rayna--got your comments in my inbox, but they're not here... mysterious!

But I hear your agreement. I felt so bad because I know how hard it can be. I've been trying to make up for it by providing query & synopsis tips. Yalitchat is so great for these types of things.

Portia--that's what I'm doing now, and I write YA! LOL!

Rayna--No coffee! (I almost got that advice a while back, but I managed to get off with 2/day.) We have the same approach to fantasy. I also loved Narnia--for the reasons you gave! And I DID read the Hobbit. Just never felt like going further... :o)

Holly Hill said...

Yay! Thanks, Leigh!

LTM said...

Yay, Holly! You're very welcome. I look forward to reading your review! :o)

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