The Mean Girls–SciFi and Fantasy Writers

Hey, yeah you! You write ROMANCE. Get off this thread. What are you doing at this site?
“I have always been afraid that if someone put a non-trashy cover on a Romance novel, it would be like dividing by zero.”–I got this when I went on a Steampunk loop searching for a receptive audience for my new book.
I’ve also been exposed to the mean girls recently when subbing a fantasy story to some magazines. No romance–straight up fantasy. I got comments on my publishing experience! Look at those covers! Look at those bare torsos!
This from the lifetime readers of fantasy and scifi who are above romance. No, they never read a romance. Ever. Not when they were 14. They are waaaay above that. They suckled at the Tolkien teet and never looked back.
Go ahead, go visit a fantasy site/loop/forum and join in. For the love of Orcs, do NOT point out that they are also writing genre fiction. And that the fiction they are writing is not the bestselling fiction in the world. And that their genre is probably more glutted than romance.
Crickey, I learned my lesson.


15 thoughts on “The Mean Girls–SciFi and Fantasy Writers

  1. I could do without the trashy covers. It’s like the editors and artists have no imagination to go with what’s inside the book. “It’s a romance? Slap a bare chest on the cover.” (insert eye-roll here).

    As far as the subject matter goes, I tend to grow bored of anything that’s over-done. Epic fantasies began parodying themselves… urban fantasies are getting dangerously close to doing the same thing. If I can’t tell where one book ends and another begins, even if they’re written by different authors, there’s a problem. Creating carbon copy universes might sell books and make editors/publishers happy. But it’s not doing the genre any favors.

  2. ciarcullen says:

    So, you’re not a mean girl fantasy writer, you’re a good male writer. No one expects you to like romance covers. Hell, I don’t like them. And hey, I’ve never been a huge fan of category romances. Still, the idea that it’s easy to write a romance and hard to write a fantasy is…well, silly. I’ve written romantic fantasies–and that, my friend, is damned hard. You have the worldbuilding and the relationship.
    What are you working on Saje?

  3. Chaeya says:

    I’m not against skin, but some covers do get boring, but then a lot of covers are boring. I’ve seen some boring Sci-Fi/Fantasy covers which do nothing for me either. I like Romance as much as I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Other genres can be just as stale and dead as a cliched Romance, so I don’t think anyone can pop off at the chops here about how wonderful they are. What’s funny is these people who are talking smack obviously haven’t ventured over to a straight up fiction/literature forum where their genre gets trashed right along with Romance. Ha ha.

  4. (man, here I thought I was a romance writer and I don’t have a single bare chest on any of my almost-dozen releases. Sigh. This explains a lot)

    I feel your pain, Ciar. My last couple things are floundering in the ‘romantic elements’ maybe women’s fic, maybe mainstream category, and I haven’t found a much friendlier reception than you on forums. The minute you insert that dirty ‘R’ word, for many, you have categorized yourself as a category romance writer and a lot of ‘writers’ are not willing to appreciate that time/organization/skill/drive/talent/heart is required for EVERY kind of writing.

  5. Gwen Hayes says:

    Mean people are mean.

    You can quote me on that.

  6. ciarcullen says:

    Yeah, Chaeya, what the heck. Try to get on Oprah (okay, maybe that’s a bad example) with your worldbuilding fantasy chops.

    And Lainey, I’ve thought long and hard about whether I could pull off mainstream, and I’m afraid I have the voice in my head that tells me that’s a different kind of skill level. But hell, I was reading some Meljean Brook today–and it was extraordinarily well-crafted fluid writing–literary in every sense, except the genre.
    I’ve not a big defender of romance–because I actually think a ton of it is really smut thinly veiled by a romance plot, but still…some of it is quite astounding.

  7. ciarcullen says:

    Gwen always has the simplest answer for everything.

  8. My ego is far too fragile a thing to step outside of the romance genre. I write fantasy elements frequently and love the flexibility of those worlds, yet I’ve never read Tolkien and never will. To quote a dear friend, it’s “dry toast” to me.

    Then again, I’m a country bumpkin and my world view is rather small, my educational background almost nonexistent, and my foot…usually found in the general vicinity of my mouth. 😉

  9. ciarcullen says:

    Hailey–you sell yourself far too short. Your second paragraph proves it.

  10. Donna says:

    Hey, I like a brawny, bare male chest as much as the next reader, but c’mon, give it a rest. Still, I don’t mind the bare male chests nearly as much as I mind the bodice staying up by a whisper and prayer on the heroine. Anyway …

    I’ve never really understood the scorn poured upon the romance genre in tsunami proportions. Yes, I’ve read some bad romances, but I’ve also read some real stinkaroos in other genres, too.

    I have to say that, given how competitive romance publishing can be, it never fails to astonish me how supportive romance writers are.

    You know what your mother used to tell you about the mean kids just might be true: They’re jealous.

  11. Sue says:

    Been there, done that, got the beat down. I’ve even experienced it in a real life writer’s group. Yeah… And then there was the woman at my book signing who picked up my book, looked at me over the top and asked, “Have you ever considered writing a real book?” *sigh*

  12. Felicia Holt says:

    Oh, so nekkid torsos are unheard of in the world of fantasy and sci fi? HELLO, back in the day every second fantasy book had Barbarian warrior princesses in leather bikinis and bulking warrior hauling broad swords wearing nothing but loin clothes. Not to mention what role playing books looked like… Think Iron Maiden covers with more semi-nekkid women.

    But of course Fantasy and Sci Fi has to shy away from romance. They might get GIRL COOTIES otherwise.

  13. Amber Green says:

    Girl cooties? So that’s the problem. I was wondering.

    Now the second question: why are so many ladies afraid of girl cooties?

  14. Sex is denigrated. Love is laughed at. Violence – bring it on. Saddest of all, it seems to be an intrinsic part of human nature to find some group to feel superior to. They don’t look up the food chain and say – yeah, those literary folks think we’re hackers. They look down (from their perspective) and say – hey at least we don’t write ROMANCE!!! (big sigh of relief)

  15. anny cook says:

    *Snicker* I love it…

    Well, I write Romance. I even write EROTIC Romance.

    The dirty truth is writing is hard work. For every book that made it through the publishing round-up from the much denigrated category romances to the loudly touted novels of Tom Clancy and Grisham there is a WRITER who sat down and did their job.

    Writers demonstrate persistence and discipline every day of their lives. For every published writer, there are hundreds of aspiring writers. And for every aspiring writer, there are hundreds more of wannabe’s who sit around and talk about wanting to write because they don’t have the nitty gritty to do so.

    I say it’s time for genre writers to stop sniping and start pulling together.

    What do I write? Paranormal. Fantasy. Sci-fi. I create new worlds. I invent new critters.

    Oh, yeah. All of them are placed in a romance. Every book I’ve read except for biographies has had romantic elements.

    Yep. Louis L’Amour, John D. MacDonald, Jane Austen, Jack Higgins, Jonathon Kellerman… and the list goes on.

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