Friday, November 14, 2008

Do we need to label it?

On Murderati today, JT Ellison writes:

...B&N came out with a dismal Christmas forecast. Borders can't pay their bills. Rumblings about the collapse of the book industry seem to come every couple of months. Shouldn't we be looking at ways to work in concert with all the organizations to promote BOOKS so we don't lose everything?

So what say you? Am I just being naive? Is genre, and subgenre, and a plethora of organizations vitally important to our daily lives? Is there a way to have a bit tent and get everyone under it, or do we like to segregate? Is it too hard to believe that in 2008, we could be treated as equals to the literary writers - just men and women who write damn good books; writers first and foremost? Would the bookstores collapse if they didn't have the genre designations? Could we create a group that didn't define itself through genre alone, but as a whole, like the Screenwriters Guild? Should I just shut up and get back to work?????

And readers, do the designations make any difference to you? I understand that not every readers wants to do serial killers, and not every reader can do knitting. Is that the sole goal of the sub-genres, to keep out unwanted stories?

I commented:

I respect authors equally, whatever they choose to write. I just happen to like plots with mystery and characters involved in or solving that mystery. That said, I tend not to believe characters who stumble upon mystery when nothing else in their lives suggests they would or that they'd be disposed to solve the mystery. So as a reader I find genre labels handy...I like to know what I'm getting because I am, in fact, making at least a time commitment.

As a writer, I think the many organizations are necessary because each sheds light on a type of writing that deserves as much respect as the others. Yes, these dedicated organizations might keep writers apart, but without them there'd be less respect for the nuances of all fiction.

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