Sunday, January 4, 2009

Twenty definitions

Happy New Year everyone, especially to my one registered follower (waves hand). While waiting for inspiration, I came up with the following definitions after a discussion on a writers list about the disparaging terms applied to romance writing. I'll start the New Year off with those.

Twenty Writerly Definitions.

1) Hysterical fiction: A facetious, but usually deliberate slip of the tongue pertaining to romantic historical fiction.

2) Popular fiction: Fiction that is clearly understood and enjoyed by the majority of readers all over the world.

3) Literary fiction: In the immortal words of a former Australian politician, “Please explain?”

4) Bodice ripper: Historical fiction with a hero who rips the woman’s bodice apart with his bare hands so he can perve at her breasts and proved his sexual prowess. (sixties cliché).

5) Churning out: Usually nothing to do with butter making. It refers to the method used by writers of a certain type of fiction. They feed words into a machine, turn the handle and a book pops out of the other end. The writer keeps repeating the process for subsequent books.

6) Envy: Something keenly felt by the writer who hasn’t got one of the above book churner -outers, or is beset with alternative writerly hang-ups.

7) The Phrase: “Read one and you’ve read them all” : Gasp! A genuine mind reader is giving a considered opinion here.

8) Trash: A book too beneath the reader’s mind to bother with. Usually inhaled as a bad smell by the sensitive nostrils of the mind reader, who can be picked out by her sniffing habits at the romance bookshelves. I always imagine she’s looking for sex so she can complain about it afterwards.

9) Formula: A secret code used to write a successful novel. This code is handed out like a knighthood to a special few, who now write consistent best sellers. Sometimes it’s awarded as a free gift with the churner-outer. Yeah, I know, annoying isn’t it? I deserved to be awarded one of those too!

10) Clichés: Something churned out by non romance writers to describe romance writing as trashy hysterical fiction, or bodice rippers as clichéd, and then stand back expecting applause for their wit. Did you get that? You didn’t? Oh, come on, it’s all been done before, over and over again. Let me put it in plain words. Create a original metaphor of your own, will you?

11) Book advance: Oh . . . I thought that was reimbursement for my postage. Silly me!

12) Royalties: Ditto.

13) Rights: Something the publishers hang on to if they can, in case they can find a use for them before the author does.

14) Best selling writer 1: A writer who successfully sold cars or real estate before taking up swashbuckling with the pen.

15) Best selling writer 2: A lie in a jacket blurb.

16) Best selling writer 3: Wishful thinking.

17) Best selling writer 4: Okay . . . Okay! I’ve worked my way down to it. They’ve sold many more books than I have and I’m probably suffering from number 6!

18) Writers arse: A wide and comfortable seat that expands with regular use.

19) Phrase: "Any publicity is good publicity": For those who can get it, I suppose.

20) Stupidest question from the public, interviewers, or relatives: “You must be rolling in it now you’re churning out those hysterical ... whoops . . . historical bodice rippers . . . one size fits all crap, eh?”

Polite Answer: BONK OFF!
Impolite answer: SWAT!
Wishful thinking answer: TOO BLOODY RIGHT!

Please feel free to add your own definitions to the comments.
Cheers. Janet.


AnneMarie Brear said...

Excellent Janet! :o)

Sandie Hudson said...

ROTFLMAO, Janet you are a crack up. Ruddy wonderful.

Sharon Archer said...

Wicked, Janet! LOL!
Is this going to set the tone for you for 2009!
Go get 'em, tiger!

Anonymous said...

Janet, You’re a lucky person. It’s obviously geography makes it easier to be a romance writer in, a mystery until now. While you prepare to involve yourself in the passion of their encounter you quietly make clever word lists. If you were a Queenslander you’d be scanning the yard, club in hand, waiting to beat life from even passing Kane Toad. I’m sure the environment would flow into your work. ---- You’d be Janet the Horror Writer; and everyone would still love you. ----- Thank you for tonight’s entertainment. ---- Eric (I’m waving. I was sure there would be a crowd.)

H Maree Davis said...

Too funny. Permission to quote you when needed?

H! :)

Janet Woods said...

Please feel free,Maree.

Deb Bennetto said...

Thanks for the great laugh Janet! Where can I get one of those churning machines???

Deb :)

Eleni Konstantine said...

Love it Janet!!

Monya Clayton said...

Thanks, Janet, for putting into words what we all feel! (Envy speaking - why do the churner-outers make all the money?)
You obviously have a great sense of humour. Have you ever seen the following site? It takes the mickey out of romance book covers. Thankfully The Wild Rose Press isn't represented; they're too dignified!
Hope it doesn't offend you! We have to be able to laugh at the awful things people think of us!
And I heartily agree about Christmas! One hubby, four kids, four spouses, one ex-spouse, thirteen grandkids, three great-grandkids, partner of their mum (our oldest granddaughter), and long-term boyfriend of another granddaughter.
That's just the presents. Pick 'em up all year. Fortunately we're now old and decrepit and no longer host dinner.
Keep the fun going. I can't think of a definition you haven't covered. Except Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s quote: "Talent is extremely common. What's rare is the willingness to endure the life of a writer. Writing a book is like making wallpaper by hand for the Sistine Chapel."
I talk too much.