Author Topic: Genre Expectations and conventions.  (Read 22958 times)

The Deposed King

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Genre Expectations and conventions.
« on: June 10, 2008, 08:36:38 pm »
I don't think patty would go for it. the only tension she could build on would be who would have the net power fight and that would get boring after a while. You need a love interest to keep tension and readers. Or at least speculation of a love interest.

Well you need that for many or most female readers.  That I'll agree with.

On the other hand you can get a core of male readers who will really only care about the adventure and action and many wounldn't even notice a lack of a love angle/triangle.  Some will but many won't.

Personally I don't mind a love interest if its done right.  I'd even enjoy it if it was done tastefully and adds to the story.  But note the 'I don't mind' part.  I don't mind it but I'm not looking for it and I don't particularly need it.  I am looking for magic and action and good story.  Throw in some power politics every now and then and I'm happy as a clam.


.... I may get blasted for this, but personally I get a bit disgusted with all the romance crossovers corrupting the fantasy shelves.  Its easy right now to find a fantasy with strong love interests being the main focus.  Its harder to find one that's almost pure adventure and action.

I don't mind a blend.  But say for instance with the Anita Blake series, which was as good or better than the Harry Dresden series.  It took a 180 from the first 8 or 9 books and basically converted into a bodice ripper.  As a result it just plain lost me as a reader.  I went from staunch fan religiously buying every book as it came out to refusing to buy anything anita from that point on.

I'm sure it helped pick up some of the romance crowd.  It may even have a wider appeal.  But it was a fantasy investigative monster kicking story with a side love interest.  Now I don't know what it is.  Anita's Pregnant.  5 potential fathers.  Oh no who could it be?  'Gag me!'


The Deposed King

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2008, 05:01:38 pm »
I'm also with ya Deposed King.  I love fantasy/paranormal/adventure and generally cool stuff like that.  Toss in some steamy scenes to spice it up and that's even better.  But when the entire book revolves around the "spice", well, I'd just go to the romance section, look at the cover, and walk away.  Just not interested. 

   As for stronger women picking "weaker" males, well, with Honey that happened in-pack, and personally I suppose I'm the "alpha" over my guy.  He's an equal partner to me, but I'm typically the decision maker.  We both protect each other, but I'm the one who would probably resort to bloodshed first if called for.  So there are guys who aren't poisoned by testosterone that can handle being "led", not only handle it but prefer it. 
 
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2008, 05:16:23 pm »
I don't think patty would go for it. the only tension she could build on would be who would have the net power fight and that would get boring after a while. You need a love interest to keep tension and readers. Or at least speculation of a love interest.

Well you need that for many or most female readers.  That I'll agree with.

On the other hand you can get a core of male readers who will really only care about the adventure and action and many wounldn't even notice a lack of a love angle/triangle.  Some will but many won't.

Personally I don't mind a love interest if its done right.  I'd even enjoy it if it was done tastefully and adds to the story.  But note the 'I don't mind' part.  I don't mind it but I'm not looking for it and I don't particularly need it.  I am looking for magic and action and good story.  Throw in some power politics every now and then and I'm happy as a clam.


.... I may get blasted for this, but personally I get a bit disgusted with all the romance crossovers corrupting the fantasy shelves.  Its easy right now to find a fantasy with strong love interests being the main focus.  Its harder to find one that's almost pure adventure and action.

I don't mind a blend.  But say for instance with the Anita Blake series, which was as good or better than the Harry Dresden series.  It took a 180 from the first 8 or 9 books and basically converted into a bodice ripper.  As a result it just plain lost me as a reader.  I went from staunch fan religiously buying every book as it came out to refusing to buy anything anita from that point on.

I'm sure it helped pick up some of the romance crowd.  It may even have a wider appeal.  But it was a fantasy investigative monster kicking story with a side love interest.  Now I don't know what it is.  Anita's Pregnant.  5 potential fathers.  Oh no who could it be?  'Gag me!'


The Deposed King

Actually, I'm female, and not only will I not blast you for this, I agree with you wholeheartedly.  Mind, I came in from the fantasy/science fiction side rather than the romance side, so that's my taste.  But I find too many of the fantasy books out there these days are just thinly disguised romances, and that's not what I like to read.  (Again, just a matter of personal preference; not criticizing anyone else's tastes.) 
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 09:47:48 am »
At the Angela Knight thread I commented about genre expectations affecting my enjoyment of a book - it was an interesting point so I thought I would start a thread here before the mods got out the tail slaps because I was tempted to start an off topic discussion :P

I think if I was reading a romance I expect the conventions of a HEA although if I am reading an urban fantasy/sci or general fiction I really dont care. However I am open to reading a romance that expands on the conventions of romance - the only thing I wont accept especially if a book doesnt end with HEA or even happy for now. I would feel cheated if that didnt happen however I think romance in general seems to be one of the most evolving genres compared to others. And yet its not especially with certain conventions like the HEA - so does conventions and expectations affect your enjoyment reading a book?
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 10:20:35 am »
Funny you should ask that.  I've been slogging my way through a book that I had pretty high expectations for, and it's been a disappointment.  Not because the book is bad, or poorly written, but because I was expecting a fantasy book with a love story inside, and I got a love story that makes me so nuts that I can't really enjoy the fantasy bits.  Partly because the love story was the predominant story for the first 200+ pages, and partly because it's one of those relationships that I used to hate in romance-land.  Instead of enjoying the book, I keep putting it down and ranting to myself about how stupid this heroine is, and how stock-character the hero is. 

Now, I have to admit that I'm not a big romance fan, so of course that affects my reaction.  I like a good story, with adventure, and if there's a relationship/love story wrapped up in it, that's fine, but I don't like it when the romance eclipses the actual story. 

Before this, I probably would have said, "As long as it's a good book, my expectations don't really impact my enjoyment."  Now (at least today  :D ), I'd have to say differently.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 10:23:24 am »
Since I was the one responding in the Angela Knight Thread about excactly that kind of 'problem' I'll try to express my point here (hopefully I will stay in topic).

So, In urban fiction or sci fi or whatever series that each book has things evolving in the next book, so that HEA or Happy now not sure for later is not really available I expect the romance to remain low, not non-existand mind you but that it not takes over the whole story.

In the sci fi or fantasy or even in Urban Fantasy that the series starts with a lot of romance even if HEA is not an option I can keep reading waiting for the loose ends to tie up with a HEA as long as the story has some interest past the romance.

I have to give an example so that I at least understand what I am writing. In two series from the same author (Anita Blake, Merry Gentry) the 1st one started with as much reluctant romance as possible, to the point that  the reader (I) was 'wishing' the heroine will finally come to terms and stop whining. The 2nd series started with romance and it just carried through, all the while though the story didn't lose any of its assets, if possible it became even more complicated.

My objection (and bottom line in this) is that the Anita Series didn't live up to my expectations of the heroine finally getting through her own issues and making peace with her self and her abilities, she just went on whining (though it became less) and kept on with emergencies and the plot became even less for the lenght of the book. While Merry's series became less in lenght and more complicated in plot. Tying ends and loosing others....

I guess some series have to stop when the plot is still strong so that the reader can re-read and remember the fun and excitement of the books, not coming to the point where you find yourself recalling earlier plots because the new ones just aren't up to it.

I just wish there would be someone saying "Well this must stop!" Harry potter had a goal of 7 years and though the 5th book could be half of what it became I find my self re reading it like a classic.... The more or  longer books don't always mean the better books and plots....


(And here I rest my case for now, I just kept all of it too long in mke and needed a place to get it all out, I hope it makes sense... :-[  :-X)


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 12:08:40 pm »
It definately effects my opinion, especailly if I don't think the book will be good when I pick it up. ((Like a school book))

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 01:21:09 pm »
I agree, it does effect my opinion.
I remember in school we had to read some books for German classes and I always had to force myself to read them, even though most of them were good in the end. That also works the other way though... if I read a book I had high expectations for and it doesn´t turn out that well I at times have to struggle to finish it :-\

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 03:02:56 pm »
I expected more from High expectations.*

Seriously, I don't agree on the HEA prerequisite.
I do usually enjoy books that end happy more, and I do foolishly get annoyed if the people I was holding my breath for don't make it in the end.
But I also have to admit that the unhappy ending sometimes just works better (reminds me that I have to read Love Story sometime), see The Horse Whisperer (though, the movie is better), The Loop (Evans, too) or Bridges of Madison County (though, here I enjoyed the movie more, too).
However, I'd say the way it works out has to, uhm, work.

On the other hand I agree that when I pick up a book marketed as Sci-Fi and it dips to much toward Fantasy I get angry. So, yes, I usually do have Genre expectations that I would like to see met.
But every now and then you stumble upon a book that positively surprises you by turning genre conventions over, like Donald Kingsbury's entry in the Kzin War cycle that by all rights has to be called a horror story.

Yet Twilight, for example, turns out to be a by the numbers story that I love for exactly that reason. (I knew I would enjoy it when one critic put it down as Typical Teen Romance)

I guess what it comes down to is that I expect a certain consistency from a book, it's not so much a question of meeting my genre expectations but of creating a world that is believable and holds up during reading. Much like a movie, if it works in the boundaries of it's own logic, is allowed to ignore real life physics.
 


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The Deposed King

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 08:44:54 pm »
I'm also with ya Deposed King.  I love fantasy/paranormal/adventure and generally cool stuff like that.  Toss in some steamy scenes to spice it up and that's even better.  But when the entire book revolves around the "spice", well, I'd just go to the romance section, look at the cover, and walk away.  Just not interested. 

Well personally I'm not a romance book person.  But agreed, a little hot spice added into the equation can make a book better.  Always assuming its done well.  But when the whole book is hot and steamy... its just not what I expect or want to see on the sci-fi/fantasy shelves.

Personally there were a few romance books that looked like they might have had enough fantasy elements in them I almost bought them.  But I hesitated to pick it up because I asked myself, if they are classifying some of these books as fantasty and they have this much hot and sweaty action in them, to the detriment of the plot outside the bedroom action/drama, how much more would be in an out and out romance book with fantasy elements.

   As for stronger women picking "weaker" males, well, with Honey that happened in-pack, and personally I suppose I'm the "alpha" over my guy.  He's an equal partner to me, but I'm typically the decision maker.  We both protect each other, but I'm the one who would probably resort to bloodshed first if called for.  So there are guys who aren't poisoned by testosterone that can handle being "led", not only handle it but prefer it. 

I have to think that some of the guys picked out by the female were's would be something along those lines.  A partner who just is generally happier with the wife making more of the tougher decisions.  And certainly there are guys who like you said can handle being led and in some cases prefer it.

I do wonder about femalewere's though.  With the instinct for dominance thrown in on top of the way things are for humans normally, I'm not sure that some of the she-were's wouldn't end up being disgusted with a weaker more placcid human male and terminate the relationship themself.  In favor of someone who would give them a bit of an argument.  Read a dominance fight, that being a were the female would probably win, but that they might take more joy from that, than just having someone who follows their lead.

Just like different people like and pick spouses with all different kinds of personalities I would think the same would hold true with an all female were-pack.  If they were looking at human men for romance, they'd likely end up chosing a variety of personality types.

Likely taking a submissive or much less dominent male into the all female-pack would be less stressfull and more likley to succed than taking a more dominant male into the pack who might upset the balance of power.

However if as I postulated earlier the natural order of things for a werewolf pack were reversed and instead of the females taking their rank from their mates it was the males taking their ranking from their female mate that wouldn't be as much of an issue unless one of the human husbands, who for whatever reason got turned, was more dominent than the pack alpha.

Still interesting speculation.


   (I'm currently not wearing my contacts and am slightly doped up from getting my wisdom teeth yanked today, so if that makes absolutely no sense then blame it on that)

Naaah.  You did a fine job making sense.


The Deposed King

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2008, 09:38:45 pm »
Seriously, I don't agree on the HEA prerequisite.
I do usually enjoy books that end happy more, and I do foolishly get annoyed if the people I was holding my breath for don't make it in the end.
But I also have to admit that the unhappy ending sometimes just works better (reminds me that I have to read Love Story sometime), see The Horse Whisperer (though, the movie is better), The Loop (Evans, too) or Bridges of Madison County (though, here I enjoyed the movie more, too).
However, I'd say the way it works out has to, uhm, work.
I agree, Gerd. I love reading romance novels, and prefer a HEA, but sometimes, as in The Horse Whisperer, the unhappy ending was more appropriate and satisfying IMO. Alhtough I thought The Loop did have a happy ending, at least it satisfied me. (Hey, do we have a Nicholas Evans thread??? And what about Nocholas Sparks?? Have to go check in a minute...)

So I like a good dollop of romance in my books of any genre, but it gets boring if it's only about the spice and nothing else. Romance for me doesn't necessarily mean sex scenes.
The story has to make sense in the end, the characters have to act in ways that fits their personality. If we have a character that throughout 299 pages of the book as shown to be very moral and ethical and adament about what's right or wrong, and then on page 300 that character kills the wife/husband of her lover and sails away into the sunset with him/her, it just doesn't fit...
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 11:37:31 pm »
Snoopy, It's my thinking excactly, I don't dislike unhappy endings as long as they fit the story. After all life isn't a road spread with rosepetals.... It also has thorns spread in between.

And I don't mind the author changing the genre ofthe series if he or she thinks it will contribute to the story. In fact I like changes, it could become boring to have the same story repeated as in mystery case with murder - solving it. What I don't like is when the 100th book of a series is too little plot and too much therapy between the characters. Okay, Therapy may be needed up to a point but you can't have a book with 300 pages of therapy and 5 pages with mystery and put it in the same genre as the ones that had 80% mystery and 20% therapy.... (Therapy here includes steamy scenes that at some point you don't mind as you come to expect them.)

But if you wanted the sex scenes you would buy an erotica-romance book not the series that started as mystery - Fantasy.

I was among those who pushed themselves to read the middle of Potter's 5 and couldn't put the book down for the last 150 or a bit more pages.... The books that you have to push yourself to finish and when you finish it it's like the re-heated favourite meal of last night.... That's the ones I really wish could be 'banned'.


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2008, 04:59:48 am »
I totally agree about the unhappy endings- if it fits well with the book regardless of the genre than I dont mind. However if its something that goes off centre or its unexpected than I will get peed off.
I think with romance it really depends on how the author conveys the relationship to the reader- for instance the Mercy series is pretty romantic and although its an urban fantasy and the romance is pretty toned down. Its one of the strongest elements of the series and the romantic triangle created a huge discussion on this board and elsewhere. It worked because the relationship that Mercy had with Adam/Sam added alot to engaging the reader. I have read some romances where the relationship felt forced and the book felt flat.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2008, 06:57:56 am »
Yes, because it was balanced. The romance in Mercy's series didn't take over on the action. She didn't go to rescue Jessie thinking what to do with Sam. I think that's the whole point. I might be totally wrong, but I've grown accustomed to having even a bit of romance in each story, even if the friend of a friend of the hero. As it was with Warren and Kyle, Mercy mentions it as the whole Demon mess comes out in full force and it takes abit of the seriousness away. But she doesn't concentrate on it, pondering on how Warren and ZKyle were getting along when the chase was on.... In that kind of small tips it helps you think of the big picture. Imagine Mercy taking 5 pages on how Kyle was feeling that Warren had lied to him, or how Warren was guilty for that.... She gives us info in small tips that don't take us off the main story, it adds to the main story as you have something more to think of axcept for the blood and violence....

Now, Of course I would be angry if Kyle hadn't gotten back with Warren but if it was given in a way that was understandable I would keep reading...

After all it's the unexpected that will get you hooked, the thing you hadn't foreseen that will make you keep reading a series... "Mark went on a walk on thursday, on friday and stayed home on saturday" will just spend your time, but if you put Mark through an eventfull walk on Thursday, that will keep you hooked till friday and then something will happen, like he meets the boogeyman on Friday and they have a Saturday movies night together while remembering the old scare the boogeyman gave Mark will keep you reading and you might even want to see the end of it, even if the Boogeyman scares Mark to death (after all that's what he does, scares people.)


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2008, 04:29:30 pm »
I have to admit that I like to know what I"m getting into when I read a book. I like romances and scifi/fantasy equally well, so I like the trend of combining the two together. When it's not just a thinly disguised paranormal romance (although I like those, too); there must be an actual scifi/fantasy story fully fleshed out that has nothing to do with the romance, but with a nice romantic touch. Linnea Sinclair and Catherine Asaro are the best at this true combo, IMO. And Ann Agiurre is another one to watch, too.

And I think Katie MacAlister is doing a good-ish job of updating the traditional paranormal romance by lessening its storyline, or at least lengthening it. JR Ward is moving in that direction, too, IMO, especially with her latest book Lover Enshrined. I want thorough world-building and for the plot to be more than "s/he loves me, s/he loves me not" in my fantasy/scifi books. But I do like for there to be romantic interest in a lot of my fantasy books. Maybe not so much in my scifi ones, for some strange reason :) I *loved* LM Bujold's Vorkosigan series without the romance; Elizabeth Moon, too. I'm sure there's more, but I can't think off the top of my head.

When I read romances, I want my HEA. There was a series not too long ago that I was completely disgusted with by Cameron Dean for this very reason. Ugh. I actually threw the last book in the trash.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 10:11:14 pm »

I'm sure it helped pick up some of the romance crowd.  It may even have a wider appeal.  But it was a fantasy investigative monster kicking story with a side love interest.  Now I don't know what it is.  Anita's Pregnant.  5 potential fathers.  Oh no who could it be?  'Gag me!'


The Deposed King

I know this is a silly little nitpick, but just to clarify, it is Merry Gentry who is pregnant, not Anita Blake.  However, I do agree that the Anita series got very muddied with all the romantic/intimate entanglements.  It was a much better series in its earlier days.  With the Merry series, I expect the intimacy and advancement in the character's relationships and would be disappointed if it were not there.  So for me, it's not so much genre expectations per se, but whether the book lives up to whatever expectations the publicity hype, first couple of chapters or previous books in the series has promised me.  I only get fed up when the hype turns out to be wrong and the story doesn't deliver what was promised.

The thing that bothers me more is when the paranormal aspects of a paranormal romance are trite, poorly executed or obviously derived from much better fantasy works.  Some romances read as though the author was a decent romance author, but when she tried to work fantasy elements into the mix, she didn't know how to do it properly and then everything fell flat.  Good romance/bad fantasy = a disappointing book, just as good fantasy/bad romance also = a disappointing book.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2008, 11:55:06 pm »
I know this is a silly little nitpick, but just to clarify, it is Merry Gentry who is pregnant, not Anita Blake.  However, I do agree that the Anita series got very muddied with all the romantic/intimate entanglements.  It was a much better series in its earlier days.  With the Merry series, I expect the intimacy and advancement in the character's relationships and would be disappointed if it were not there.  So for me, it's not so much genre expectations per se, but whether the book lives up to whatever expectations the publicity hype, first couple of chapters or previous books in the series has promised me.  I only get fed up when the hype turns out to be wrong and the story doesn't deliver what was promised.

The thing that bothers me more is when the paranormal aspects of a paranormal romance are trite, poorly executed or obviously derived from much better fantasy works.  Some romances read as though the author was a decent romance author, but when she tried to work fantasy elements into the mix, she didn't know how to do it properly and then everything fell flat.  Good romance/bad fantasy = a disappointing book, just as good fantasy/bad romance also = a disappointing book.

You know I started teh merideith gentry books and fell off them because after the first one they just failed to hold my interest.  Liked the first one though.  But it just didn't compare with my sense of betrayal of anita the character.

Merideth started out as a sexual entity whose powers hinged on that so I had no problems with how much hot and sweaty action was thrown in.  With Anita though she started out and for 9 books held onto her virtue as an integral part of her person.  No she wasn't virginal and certainly didn't intend to be single her whole life long, but she wasn't into hot trampy action either, self control was part of the watch word when dealing with vampires and the supernatural.  So when the character abandoned 9 books worth of moral code in one hot encounter that just kept going on and on and didn't include either one of her two potential love interests she'd agonoized over picking for several books, I could only take it as either the author had betrayed the character she'd created or else the character had quite simply been corrupted by the very monsters she'd been out fighting against.  In short she must have been seduced and turned into a monster.  I don't think you have to be a monster just because you were turned into a were-leopard.  But a monster is as a monster does.


The Deposed King

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2008, 12:20:57 am »
Merideth started out as a sexual entity whose powers hinged on that so I had no problems with how much hot and sweaty action was thrown in.  With Anita though she started out and for 9 books held onto her virtue as an integral part of her person.  No she wasn't virginal and certainly didn't intend to be single her whole life long, but she wasn't into hot trampy action either, self control was part of the watch word when dealing with vampires and the supernatural.  So when the character abandoned 9 books worth of moral code in one hot encounter that just kept going on and on and didn't include either one of her two potential love interests she'd agonoized over picking for several books, I could only take it as either the author had betrayed the character she'd created or else the character had quite simply been corrupted by the very monsters she'd been out fighting against.  In short she must have been seduced and turned into a monster.  I don't think you have to be a monster just because you were turned into a were-leopard.  But a monster is as a monster does.
The Deposed King

Excactly what I was thinking. In a way it was like she was 'paying up' for the long years of no romance in a few months (I am not sure it was even a year). The whole "trying to choose" thing was irritating, then we got all the others involved and I amn not even sure how the author keeps track of who is and isn't in her bed....

I agree that just because you survived an attack (she had quite a few attacks I think) you don't become a monster. It takes a 'death of the soul' to leave your humanity behind and become a monster.... Even Edward in the 9th book shows some humanity (even if he doesn't accept it). I could actually follow the series till the previous book, it had a story I could follow. The very last one though.... I can't believe it took it  year to come out... It felt like it could be done in a few months... totally flat, tottaly uninspirired IMO at least....

Merry's series keeps a shorter pace and leaves you wondering what will come next, plus even from the 1st book you knew what to expect from the series and the Magic is still building, it didn't just explode all trough one book.... (Sorry to type so long, but I am not so good in expressing my self in small sentences....   :-X)


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2008, 11:50:12 am »
Is there an LKH thread here? If not, maybe we could make one and move that discussion over there ;) Although the series is a classic example of changing expectations ...
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2008, 10:17:24 pm »
Sorry, I get pretty carried away with that theme. I guess it's because it is the only series I have read that does it... I have JR Ward on my TBR list but it's still a bit down the line.  :-X


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2008, 11:18:41 pm »
Is there an LKH thread here? If not, maybe we could make one and move that discussion over there ;) Although the series is a classic example of changing expectations ...


My posts here originally started off in the Werewolf revolution thread, then were moved here to Genre Expectations and conventions.  I have no objections to being moved further on if that's what's needed.   Its not what I'm used to but I have no objections.

Personally I've been on a couple other forums and I suppose I'm just used to a bit more thread drift occuring before meandering back to being totally on topic.  I've never seen such purity of posts for the thread before but I'm not really complaining.  Just not used to it is all.


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2008, 11:29:30 pm »
I noticed your name over on Baens.  Real thread drift over there. ::)
Here, we pander to genre expectations in thread content.  Since we use back posts as referrences fairly often, it makes more sense here. 
There, how's that for answering the last comment and keeping on subject?  :D
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The Deposed King

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2008, 12:19:19 am »
I noticed your name over on Baens.  Real thread drift over there. ::)
Here, we pander to genre expectations in thread content.  Since we use back posts as referrences fairly often, it makes more sense here. 
There, how's that for answering the last comment and keeping on subject?  :D


Quite good actually.  It met the expectation of an answer while keeping with the convention of the board to make every effort to stay on topic.  hehehe.

And yeah I poke around over at Bean a fair bit.  Different conventions and expectations here vs. there.  But here's smaller and has more mods so its probably easier to keep track of everything.


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2009, 09:10:54 am »
BUMP
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2009, 04:42:52 pm »
Now maybe 6-12 months ago I think I would have been a really stron supporter of the theory that genre expectations and their fulfillment are directly responsible for me enjoying or not enjoying a book. I used to read almost exclusively traditional fantasy, with all the other genres being well below 1% of my books. Over time I got more and more tired of it, nothing really new here, everything was so like I expected, the few books that weren't were trying so hard to be different that they were more or less the same just with switched roles. Some Authors died, some fell in love with their own fame and rambled on way beyond turning boring, some went senile. So I finally turned to new things. I tried Urban fantasy, dark fantasy and things the like. Still at that time I developed some kind of expectations for the genre and preferred them to be met. Until I came upon J.R. Ward that is. Her Black Dagger series I expected to be urban fantasy. But it turns out to be more of a paranormal erotic romance. Still the series got me hooked. And even though it does not meet my expectations in any way, and did not do that from the very beginning, I am still following the series. That leads me to believe that the quality of a story is what gets people interested, and not the expectations.

Now, people come in more different varieties than genres or even books, so I guess it is different for everyone. Still, if I can enjoy an erotic romance series, while usually absolutely despising graphic "love" scenes in books, then I guess that genre expectations, or maybe I should call them prejudice, can be overcome.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2009, 07:10:06 pm »
Genres are good for booksellers. It tells them where to put the books without having to read them.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2009, 11:11:54 am »
What? They actually manage to put books in order of genre where you are from? Here in germany most can't even make the difference between fantasy and science fiction, don't even mention the other genres ... It is quite sad actually, I usually have to dig through loads of crap til I get to the interesting books.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2009, 11:30:12 am »
Not well.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2009, 04:02:53 pm »
what patti said. they think they know where to put them, but most of the time I have to check sci-fi, fantasy, romance, teen/young adult AND popular authors (seems to be a catch all)

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2009, 01:35:23 am »
wait a sec, are you saying you go to a book store and sort the books there?

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2009, 02:53:02 am »
I dode it all the time
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2009, 08:48:35 am »
The corporate executives have already decreed how they'll be sorted & put out.  What we have to do is sort through the sub-divisions they have decreed, and displays to find what we want.  I've had times I've had to range through two floors and one end to the other of a store to find the book I wanted.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2009, 10:06:33 am »
corprate marketing pukes make the disicions
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2009, 12:44:06 pm »
Uhm, I am not sure that is how it works ... Sure, every book has a certain genre, or more than one even. But from my experience clerks in book store are hardly ever able to tell them apart. Even when there is a fantasy and a sf area the books are always mixed up in a way that makes absolutely no sense to anyone!

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2009, 12:46:32 pm »
Well, from when I worked at B&N a couple of years ago, it was put into the PDT where you were supposed to shelve the book.  The clerk doesn't have a say in it.
Sole exception is that if there's a 'staff recommends' shelf, they can be there too.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2009, 08:05:47 am »
Such a good topic!

I've only been reading sci/fi / fantasy for about the last few years, so I'm hardly expert at what I'd expect the genre to be, but IMO, when I read that genre, I expect action, mystery, and things that go bump in the night. Not so much romance.

It's not to say I mind when a relationship develops, but it has to be only a part of the story, not the whole banana. If I wanted to read" You bad, me good, Let's bone,"  well I'd *saunter* on down to the romance aisle.

Patty and a few others do this extremely well. When I pick up one of her books, I like knowing that it's there (the relationship factor) but mainly my train of thought is "well what has mercy blundered onto now and how is she going to fix it?"

Happy endings are par for the course in romance. Its the staple. With science fiction, you have the option of leaving things open a bit more if you will. And the people tend not to be such a cliche. Good people do bad things, and even bad people can do good things with honorable intentions. 

*shrug* Just my two cents.

lol@ the book mixing.  Here at Borders, they just toss science fiction/fantasy onto 3 shelves. Good luck grasshopper in finding your book.

Avarel

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2009, 09:25:48 am »
Only 3 shelves? My store has more than three for NEW Sci-Fi/Fantasy, plus lot's more for the older stuff.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2009, 09:32:56 am »
Personally, the type of expectation defiance decides if I'll like it or not.  In reading the Death Gate Cycle, I spent the first few books convinced I was reading an alternate world fantasy--and then a specific nutty character references Pern.  (It's actually a sci-fi series, sort of.)  The book had a reason for it and explained it well, so I liked it very much.

But if a book takes an unexpected twist into something I don't like anyway--say, a character starts blaspheming all the time--I'll ditch it.  And if I wanted to read a steamy sex scene, I'd browse the romance section.    :-\

I liked Twilight, myself, because I recognized what it was from the start.  It actually surpassed my expectations, which I'll confess were pretty darn low.  Ms. Meyer actually let her plot go in routes that she knew would infuriate her intended audience rather than try to force the characters into something else, and I respect her for that.

Though I do like the formula sometimes, I do get tired of seeing it too often.  So I make sure to tweak formulas' noses in what I write.  :-whistle

EDIT: and my absolute FAVORITE books tend to be genre mixes.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 09:34:35 am by Carradee »

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2009, 03:48:24 pm »
wait a sec, are you saying you go to a book store and sort the books there?

You mean you don't?  :o  ;)
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2009, 04:15:22 pm »
You'd have to see how bad they mess it up to understand. Besides we have about 12 or so shelves for fantasy only her, and then I think maybe half that for sf. It would take me hours to put some kind of order in there, and they'd just mess it up again as soon as new books arrive!

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2009, 01:52:45 am »
...And if I wanted to read a steamy sex scene, I'd browse the romance section.    :-\
Never understood that connection, I'm afraid the brunt of romance novels would end up in the erotica corner if I had a bookstore.  LOL

Haven't been in bookstore for too long a time though, but visiting the city has become far to expensive. I always end up having to pay nigh as much or more for parking than I spend on books.  *shock*
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2009, 06:26:55 am »
That's horrible, Gerd!  Any chance of a train or bus in instead?
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2009, 11:02:31 am »
I must admit I haven't entered a train since I left the Army (free transport :)), never been in favour of public transport.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2009, 12:10:32 pm »
Is better than paying enormous amounts for parking though. :)


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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2017, 07:09:36 pm »
I just read 2 novelettes or novellas that were free offers from the writer, and I'm glad I didn't pay for them.  The expectation of the Regency Romance is that there is some difficulty in the couple wedding each other, whether one is too poor, or the wrong social class, or they're betrothed to someone else, or there's a scandal.
The first of these was "they were childhood friends, then she heard him (he would have been about 14 at the time) sneer at her to a slightly older boy, so she never went near him for 10 years. Now he walks in, dances with her twice, and tells her he's loved her since their childhood, he was just trying to impress the older boy. She forgives him, they're married about 25 years then he dies."

The second was "he danced with the pretty younger sister, then started noticing the 'on the shelf sister' decided to court her. His sister is almost compromised by a rake, but the gal he's fallen for interrupts it, with the pretty sister. Pretty sister says "repudate him or I'll tell the world she was compromised by the rake". His sister realizes this and forces the elder of the courted sisters to admit it, then shoves her and brother together."  The end.

I finished reading both of these masterpieces in under 90 minutes.  Bah.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2017, 07:33:09 pm »
Disappointing.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2017, 07:46:07 pm »
Yes. 
It was as though the author didn't want to make her characters suffer.
They were also cardboard.  Nice people, apparently, but cardboard.
I don't think there's a way she could have sold those for profit, unless it was "how not to...." lessons.
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2017, 07:52:49 pm »
Yes. A book were no one suffers is pretty boring, though that makes me sound a bit cruel. But suffering is part of the human condition, anyone who doesn't suffer doesn't seem real.

Patti L.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2017, 07:58:54 pm »
There's no point to a piece of fiction without it.
My expectations for the genre involve overcoming more of an impediment to HEA than "he hurt her feelings when she was 10, and now she's not sure he's sincere." 
Or "Her little sister threatened social ostracism for his sister if he didn't marry her," particularly if it's brushed aside in 3 pages. Geeze!
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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2017, 09:31:00 pm »
Sounds like a new a new author trying out their voice. Not the best read available.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #50 on: June 06, 2017, 06:21:33 am »
Paint by numbers. Stephen King, in writing about writing, said something to the effect that if your characters aren't alive, the story won't live either. That's not even a good paraphrase, but it gets the drift. The characters have to pull their own weight, and the story flows from that. If you try to make the story do all the work, the whole thing is going to stagger around gasping like William Shatner playing a death scene.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #52 on: November 09, 2017, 02:04:36 pm »
Nice Essay and some good book picks. :)

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #53 on: November 10, 2017, 06:44:56 pm »
Jasper Fforde is fabulous. There is one scene where a character is doing anger management therapy with the characters from Wuthering Heights that is worth the price of the whole book.

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Re: Genre Expectations and conventions.
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2018, 04:31:06 am »
Read "The bodies of the girls" in Tor.com's free eBook collection, which was a coincidental fit to my reading Buffy fanfiction at the same time. :)
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