?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
20 June 2013 @ 01:47 pm
random Gaiman post  
So Neil Gaiman is on the cover of the July/August issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. I find this irrationally annoying, because normally P&W is emphatically uninterested in genre fiction. (Well, I suppose most of the writing magazines are, but The Writer and Writer's Digest will occasionally have a tone-deaf "everyone is writing about vampires/zombies/ghosts/etc right now; here's how you can do it too!" piece, and they list genre publishers.) Though maybe this is the start of a widening of focus? (I find the whole culture represented by P&W to be very frustrating - the culture of MFAs and short story magazines and the overwhelming majority of writing contests and fellowships - because genre basically doesn't exist. Not that it matters to me on a real, practical level, I suppose - I'm not writing anything, or looking for markets to publish the stuff I'm not writing - but I am a reader who gets annoyed by feeling like she's expected to apologize for her reading habits because genre books aren't "real," "important," "literary" books, and I've taken creative writing classes where the teachers straight-up refused to acknowledge the fantasy elements in my stories*, and if I *did* want to "get serious" about writing, most of the "serious" outlets and sources of support don't extend to genre fiction. If you already *are* Neil Gaiman, then fine, P&W apparently has time for you - but if you're a beginning writer who would like to have the same options for learning and help as someone who writes fiction about domestic infidelity or suburban tragedy, then you're kind of out of luck.)

I also did not manage to get a ticket to Gaiman's upcoming reading/signing here, alas, but I felt better about this when the staff member told me that people had been lined up outside the bookstore the night before; if they wanted tickets that badly, they deserve them! (And after all, I just wanted to go to listen in, not to get anything signed - getting books signed makes me feel like I can't read that copy anymore, anyway - or talk to him or ask any specific question. So I will live.) But I did pick up my copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so there is that.


*Okay, technically that only happened once, but the other classes were not hospitable to fantasy, either.
 
 
 
La Reine Noire: Austen - Venting Spleenlareinenoire on June 21st, 2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
I am a reader who gets annoyed by feeling like she's expected to apologize for her reading habits because genre books aren't "real," "important," "literary" books, and I've taken creative writing classes where the teachers straight-up refused to acknowledge the fantasy elements in my stories*, and if I *did* want to "get serious" about writing, most of the "serious" outlets and sources of support don't extend to genre fiction.

AUGH, YES, THIS. SO MUCH THIS.

There's such a gender disparity too, as I've seen cropping up in some blogs recently. If a man writes about a suburban woman, it's hailed as brilliant and groundbreaking. If a woman does it, it's chick lit. WTF?
tempestsarekind: ofelia readingtempestsarekind on June 21st, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
It's so ridiculous, too, because honestly, literary fiction is such a narrow genre; how is it that practically *everything* else is excluded: not just fantasy/SF, but historical, romance, mystery...? And I guess there are a few programs that specialize in children's/YA writing, but mostly, that's excluded as well. That's tons of writers who just don't "count," who are expected not to be interested in craft, at least as far as MFA-world is concerned.

As for gender - ugh, don't get me started. Did you see Maureen Johnson's recent "coverflip" project, where she asked people to design new covers for her books based on the plot summaries, but as if she were a male author? People did the same thing with other authors, male and female, and the results were sadly revealing about just *how* pigeonholed women's books often are.
La Reine Noire: Austen - Venting Spleenlareinenoire on June 23rd, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
I admit, I've become really dismissive of literary fiction mostly because I've found that, when I do read it, I don't enjoy it! I find it pretentious and full of manpain. I don't remember if I was talking to you about this or not, but I recall several years ago reading one or two books by A.S. Byatt that weren't Possession and finding them frankly dull. Which is such a shock, considering how much I love Possession. But even HER books are full of manpain! Since that is apparently the only thing worth writing "literary" fiction about.

As far as I can see, the only real programs for genre writers are the ones provided by the writers themselves--Clarion, RWA, Historical Novel Society, etc--and that makes me sad, since often they can't afford to provide more than a little bit of funding for participants, even though from everything I hear, these are fantastic programs.

If I ever do manage to publish fiction, I've decided to go with an initial penname even though the fact that I want to write about women clearly pigeonholes me into "chick lit." Bah.
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on June 23rd, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
I had a similar problem with Byatt! I made it through The Virgin in the Garden, probably more because of the Elizabethan references than anything else. And a few years ago I started The Children's Book, but just never really got into it. There were some interesting female characters, if I recall, but also lots of annoying male characters too. :)

I keep trying to make myself interested in modern literary fiction, if only because I feel so out of the loop when awards shortlists get announced, but I haven't really succeeded yet. Maybe if there were more hopeful, comic literary novels?

And yes - the trouble with such programs is that one has to be able to foot the bill! At least with some MFA programs you have the option of teaching, or even student loans, or you can find a low-residency program in your area that is less expensive than flying across the country for Clarion. *sigh*

If I were to get published, I might go with initials just because people have a tendency to forget what my first name actually *is*, the first time they hear it! They might remember initials long enough to look up the book later or something. But yes, if I actually wind up writing historical fiction, it'll get pegged as "girly" for sure, because it'll be about ordinary lives instead of battlefields or navy vessels.