Sunday, June 22, 2014

When Will We Ditch the "Trashy" Descriptor?


This past week, I sat on a panel and the woman next to me asked a writer in the audience what she wrote. When the answer she received was, "Women's fiction," she remarked, "As long as it's not trashy romance."

I immediately nudged her and jumped into the conversation. "Umm...you might want to rethink your comments since I happen to be a multi-published romance author. And I don't consider my work 'trashy,' thank you very much."

Over the years, I've heard all the snide commentary and backhanded compliments about "bodice rippers," "clinch covers," "mommy porn," and how I do "the research." I've always maintained my cool and cited the usual statistics: 1.5 billion dollars in sales annually, 74 million readers, 16% of the publishing industry's sales (larger share than any other genre).

But...honestly? We're still having this discussion? Why? When someone tells me they write mysteries, I don't ask them how many people they've killed in the name of "research." If I'm introduced to a science-fiction reader, I don't accuse him/her of living in a make-believe world. Why the snark for romance? I know I'm not blazing new ground with this post and I don't intend to get into one of those debates that will send romance writers flocking to my page to defend the genre. Nor will I link to the hundreds of articles deploring the publishing market because of the dearth of romance novels. 

I write about men and women who connect on an emotional level. They fight real battles, struggle to raise families, and work jobs they may or may not like. My characters are just like you and me. Why is that "trashy"? 

If you told me about your home and, sight unseen, I said it sounded like a "trashy" place, would you take offense? You bet you would! If I said your significant other was "trashy," your kids were "trashy," your career was "trashy," you'd be insulted on all levels. You might even dismiss me as an ignorant fool. After all, what do I know about your life that would allow me to make such ugly snap judgments?

Maybe the blazing success of the romance novel makes it an easy target. But when you use words like "trashy," you're showing the world your ignorance, not mine.  

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Honestly, I Wanna See You Be Brave

Got that earworm stuck in your head now? Wish I could say I'm sorry, but I'm not. 

There's a pretty good reason that song by Sara Bareilles is so popular. It strikes a chord with many of us. Let's talk about why.

Every one of us has, at one time or another, wished we'd handled some scenario in our lives differently. We think if only we'd been more proactive, more sure of ourselves. If only we'd been...brave.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up against adversity, and usually, we admire those who do. It's why we like our characters to be kick-ass and not milquetoast. Not just in books, but in movies, television shows, comic books. And history. Who doesn't feel a sense of awe when shown that photo of the lone man standing in front of the line of tanks in Tiananmen Square? Or when we hear the stories of the firefighters and police who raced into the World Trade Center on that fateful day?

And if you're a writer, you're brave, too. Brave is announcing to everyone you know, "I'm going to write a book," and then, sitting down to write it. Brave is hitting "Publish" or "Send" when that book is finished. And then sitting down to do it all over again. Brave is daring to create a new world inhabited by new characters. Brave is bucking the trends. Brave is putting your heart onto the page time and time again.

So, go ahead. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How'd I Become the Household Electronics Expert?

Last night was another of those evenings where the menfolk kept pestering me about their electronic devices. It's as if the minute they see me open my WIP to get some writing done, they conspire to sidetrack me. And it's always those devious electronic devices that stump my guys.

We'll begin with The Boy.

Boy (coming into my bedroom where I'm working): Is your cable okay?
Me: Seems fine. Why?
Boy: Because ever since we had that power outage yesterday, my television's been skitchy.
Me: Did you reboot the box?
Boy: I'm trying to watch the hockey game and the picture keeps wobbling. I think it's the connection in the attic.
Me: We just replaced the connection in the attic a month ago, remember? So unless you've been hanging out up there, playing with the wires or the cats have grown opposable thumbs, I doubt that's the issue. Have you rebooted the box?
Boy: Great. I'll just get a headache from watching the wobbly picture.
(I leave my work and go into his room, reboot the box, which, of course, solves the problem.)

I settle down with my manuscript again and lo and behold! Hubster tells me he's still having problems accessing his voicemail on his cell--a fact I was unaware of, but apparently, I should have surmised this based on...I dunno. I got nothin'. 

Hubster: One of these days, you're gonna have to fix that for me. It's frustrating to see all these calls and not know if it's important because I can't play the message.
Me (with a heavy sigh): Bring me your phone. 
(He hands me the phone and I ask him what the problem is.) 
Hubster: I can't access my voicemail.
Me: Why not? (I hit the voicemail button. It shows he has ten unheard messages. I choose one and it plays. No problem.)
Hubster: Hey! You fixed it.
Me: Yeah, how about that?

This is why I always worry when I travel that I will return home to find my boys huddled around the blackened remains of my house, trying to open a can of peas with a sharp rock. It could happen.



For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Down About Those Awful Nasty Reviews?


Take a lesson from Ricky Gervais. Brilliant!
For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/