I’m sure I’m not the only one who agrees that not all Romance books are created equally. Neither are all crime novels, all memoirs, or all violence-themed thrillers. To me, there is a clear scale, and in our Writing Group we have been discussing this at length. It’s a hard discussion to have because we also all have filters that determine where we would like our books to fit. We then also add moral or “better/worse” scales to the equation and struggle to see things as being of equal value, just “different”.
Here’s an example; At one end of the scale, Romance can be clean as a whistle. No sex scenes, no sex before marriage, no disrespect towards women (except from the bad guys) and so on. Some may scoff at this idea but this writing space is huge and the world is filled with mostly women readers who are tired of the sex thrown at them from every billboard, movie and TV advertisement. They want to enjoy and believe that there is still a place in the world for respect, true love, and deeply heroic, decent men and that women can still be swept off their feet for all the right reasons. (and I like to think that these people do still exist!)
At the other end of the scale, there is written pornography in all its forms. These ends of the scale clearly are not the same thing, and while they may well both fit into the Romance genre, they are unlikely to be enjoyed by a single reader, or written by a single author.
But the bigger questions are:
- Where is the middle line?
- Who fits on either side of it?
- And is someone who reads the red end (explicit sex) more likely to also read and enjoy books with explicit violent scenes? And is someone who enjoys the pink end (squeaky clean) more likely to also read squeaky clean ends of other genres too?
The same then applies to crime/violence, social justice issues, religion, and other genres does it not?
In my subjective experience, pretty much no one I know only reads a single genre. There are a whole bunch of genre that they will not read, but of those that they do enjoy, all pretty much fit on the same place on the scale.
Let’s make an imaginary scale. 1-6 With an imaginary wall in the middle. That wall has a door in it, that can open or shut. Whether the scene is in a bedroom, police station, crime scene, hospital room, battlefield, history museum, or anywhere else on earth, in any genre imaginable, the scale is divided down the middle and the reader is either taken through into that room, …or they aren’t.
- 1= Squeaky clean on all levels. In a nutshell, there is no room!
- 2= There are some hints and innuendoes about private or gory details, but still everything is pretty much left to the imagination.
- 3= Sex and/or violent scenes may be present, and big issues raised, however, they are implied and alluded to, but no details are given. You are not actively taken into the bedroom, the crime scene, the bar brawl or the morgue.
- 4= The imagination is still very much in play, but the author spells out a number of details about what is going on. The reader is taken through those doors, but briefly.
- 6= A good deal of time and explanation is given to these rooms, issues are dealt with in depth and scenes are built quite fully. But there are still many details which are left to the imagination.
- 8= No holds barred. A spade is a spade. Nothing is left to the imagination. Anything and everything goes and the more detail, the better.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t read about sex, zombies, horror or ghosts, but I’m a 6 kind of gal!! (writing and reading)
What are you?
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