Selah March

October 14, 2005

Words Fail Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — Selah March @ 10:53 am
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I know I’m a day late and a dollar short on this topic, but I don’t…I really can’t…I mean, it just doesn’t…

Okay, deep breaths. Maybe a cup of soothing chamomile. Maybe shot of brandy to go with the chamomile. Maybe my mother left behind a couple Xanax in the guest bathroom…

It started here, courtesy of author Brenda Coulter. Allow me to say up front that Ms. Coulter may be a lovely woman of extreme talent and exceptional virtue. In this matter, however, she and I do not agree.

Ms. Coulter appears to be of the opinion that critics and reviewers, especially those who themselves write in the romance genre, are and SHOULD BE extra-nice and super-easy on other romance authors because…

“If you haven’t tried writing a romance novel, you can have absolutely no concept of how difficult it is to write even a bad one.”

She goes on to say:

“Given that most writers will never be published and that most who do achieve publication will never make a big splash in the book world, just how logical is it to assume that any romance writer would produce anything less than the very best work she’s capable of? Trust me–we’re all writing our hearts out.

“Romance novels are character-driven. By definition, the books are deeply emotional. So if you’ve just figured out that romance writers must be people who feel things deeply, you’re catching on. Yes, we’re sensitive.”

Ack. Just…ack. This is the intellectual equivalent of giving the girls extra outs when they play the boys in baseball. It’s telling my daughter it’s okay that she sucks at math because she’ll never use it anyway. IT’S BULLSHIT, PEOPLE.

They say it’s we erotic writers who keep courting the massive disrespect for the romance genre. They say we bring the whole genre down.

I say there’s nothing like pleading for special consideration merely on the basis of being “sensitive” to make people turn away in disgust.

“Don’t look too closely. Don’t set the bar too high. And for God’s sake, don’t expect honest peer review. WE’RE JUST GIRRRRRRLS.”

How pathetic. I take some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in my shame.

Barbara Ferrer, Barb Ferrer again, Smart Bitches/Trashy Novels, BookSquare.

10 Comments »

  1. bravo

    Comment by crissachappell — October 14, 2005 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  2. But you ARE girls, right? I mean, you have girl parts and everything, right?

    No, I’m joking. I agree completely that an honest evaluation of one’s work should not be tempered with limits based on the big sensitive girliness of the art’s practitioners. However, as Barbara pointed out on her blog, there is a big difference between criticism and bashing.

    Comment by Donald Francis — October 14, 2005 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  3. You know, if I weren’t such a classy broad, I’d flash you.

    Shut up.

    And OF COURSE there’s a diff between bashing and crit. But we’re talking about romance review sites that don’t publish negative reviews. Ever. As a policy. Period.

    About reviewers of the genre who make it their business to NEVER review books they don’t like. Literally, “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”

    About people who come down like five tons of bricks on the reviewers who DO stand up and say “hey, I read this book, and I didn’t like it, and here’s why…”

    The shrill cries echo: “How DARE they? Where’s the sense of SISTERHOOD?? Don’t they KNOW how tough it is out there?”

    One more time for the chicas in the back: LIFE is tough. Buy a helmet. If you hurry, you can find one at your local Target…on sale this week for $19.99!

    Comment by Selah March — October 14, 2005 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  4. Do they have any Ravens helmets?

    Comment by Donald Francis — October 14, 2005 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  5. Christmas is coming, pet. Patience.

    Comment by Selah March — October 14, 2005 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  6. I was blown away by her comments. It reminded me of a women’s studies class in college. The professor asked the 35 women in the class if we considered ourselves feminists. Out of the 35, 3 raised their hands (including myself). One of the girls explained how she knew that she’d be discriminated against because she’s a woman and probably have a harder time getting into medical school but didn’t want to call herself a feminist because it wasn’t feminine or ladylike.

    Comment by tvaddictgurl — October 14, 2005 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  7. One of the girls explained how she knew that she’d be discriminated against because she’s a woman and probably have a harder time getting into medical school but didn’t want to call herself a feminist because it wasn’t feminine or ladylike.

    Labels are funny things.

    In my world, to be a feminist you don’t have to:

    –hate men
    –be a lesbian
    –want to work outside the home
    –eschew marriage or motherhood
    –promote or even support abortion
    –be, do, or say anything you don’t want to be, do, or say, other than…

    “I believe women, as a gender, are the moral, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual equals of men, and should be treated as such.”

    Saying we’re too “sensitive” to handle a little honest criticism from our peers? Has the potential to set us back some. Boy howdy.

    Comment by Selah March — October 14, 2005 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  8. Well, it’s nice to see you het up over something!

    I HATED that post. Walk around with a box of tissues please.

    I reviewed. Some of them didn’t make the cut because I said things like…the historical facts were totally off. Or that the internal dialogue of the hero sounded like a woman.

    Wayne Jordan was supposed to comment further on the subject on Monica’s blog and I’m looking forward to his opinion. He seems to have the balance between opinion and craft.

    Writing killed my love of reading. I learned the craft, and still am, but I realize what dreck there is out there and I won’t buy it because the mechanics of the writing make me hate the book. Meanwhile in review mags they get 4 1/2 stars. Blech.

    Looking forward to reading Moondance. My brain doesn’t warp that way, with horror and erotica. Well cause, I can’t even walk the dog at night. Grendel might eat me. Stephen King amazes me, the way he thinks. Anyhoo, congrats on Moondance.

    Comment by Eva Gale — October 14, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for the congrats! And for the tip on Wayne Jordan — I’ll watch Monica’s blog. I forgot to link to her; I shall fix that, too.

    And you’re right — Grendel is out there and he’s HUNGRY!

    Comment by Selah March — October 14, 2005 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  10. However, as Barbara pointed out on her blog, there is a big difference between criticism and bashing.

    And what I probably failed to make as clear as I should have was that not every review or critique that has a remotely negative comment in it is a Bad Thing.

    I tried to hit that particular point in Rant #2 for the day. My friend Szandara pointed out the particular cult of “Joss is God Everything He Does is Wonderful.” fans.

    We remember those don’t we? To this day, I cringe when I recall the hell I got for saying I didn’t like the Musical. Forget that I had valid points. I was clearly a traitor to the cause.

    Comment by Barb — October 14, 2005 @ 9:23 pm | Reply


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