Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Frill for a Thrill

I’m sitting here watching American Idol, and they’re talking about putting runs in songs, frilling it up so to speak. How sometimes it really isn’t necessary, to just let the song be the song. It made me think about writing. It seems lately that a lot of books are “frilled” out, filled with “runs” and gimmicks, bogging down and sometimes obscuring the stories. I like action, I like some paranormal, but I’ve read some books lately that read as if the author was throwing things in to stylize the book, to make it fit with these booming sub-genres. Have we lost the ability to tell a simple story, a love story where the focus is on the “love” and not the peripheral gogglidook jumping out everywhere? Can we still just sing the melody? What do you think?

I'm referring to romances here, not urban fantasy, or even fantasy at all.

15 comments:

Loreth Anne White said...

Interesting thought, Bailey. Is it a sign of our digital times and shortened attention spans, I wonder? Is it what appeals to a younger reader -- the need for 'MORE' everything, 'EXTREME' everything -- from special effects, to adventure thrills, to food. And the need to get it all FASTER. (including getting a story faster from shorter books)
Maybe the pure and simple threads have gotten lost in the evolution of our popular culture. It's got me thinking ... and waffling ...

Bailey Stewart said...

Oh now, don't you waffle. I like your books as they are. No waffling!

Brandy said...

Hmm, good topic. I know what you mean. Why can't a book be a simple romance, and not a paranormal suspense romance. Then again, and don't get mad, I think I preferred some of the category books to 10 years ago to today, just because man and woman meet, jump into bed have problem, solve problem and jump into bed. *sigh* Not to say I don't enjoy a paranormal romance, btw. Just why could they be classified into 3 or 4 different sub-genres.
Hope you're feeling better.

raine said...

Agree about the frilling in songs. Sometimes the frilling is thrilling (lol), but sometimes it's simply a cover-up for a singer who can't hit or hold a decent pure note.
And maybe sometimes it's like that in writing too. Sometimes you can take something with very little storyline, and embellish it like nobody's business. Sometimes it's thrilling, sometimes not.

And I think we have to remember that the stories being published are what the publishers think that readers think are what they want.
But you're right--sometimes it's nice to just read a simple love story.

Good post, Bailey.

Dru said...

I think when you can classify a book in more than two categories then you're pushing the envelope. I just read a book that could be classified as paranormal, suspense, romance and any combination and I was not impressed with it. It just had too many things going on.

Bernita said...

And I hates it when it's obvious.
Maybe it's the lack of smooth in the technique that irritates you?

Jill said...

Interesting topic! It used to be category romances were all about the love story, and if you read a single title things varied from the melody, so people knew what to pick up and what they'd get ...

Melissa said...

I usually read category with a few non-romance novels thrown in so it hasn't really effected my reading. I noticed this frilling in a couple of the RITA books though.

Susan said...

Now that you bring it up I think you're right. When I think of the books that stay with me they are less “frilled” out ones.

Toni Anderson said...

I think good writing speaks for itself.

I also think one of the problems is always the author's fault but the labeling side of things. I've read stuff labeled as something which it is clearly not.

Publishers like labels.

And I don't even know what a frill is--is that my problem?

And didn't Am Idol ROCK!!

Toni Anderson said...

*isn't* the author's fault!!!

Stupid fingers :)

Devon Ellington said...

I hate it when they throw in name brands. It makes me want to put down the book. Describe the shoe, not the shoemaker.

catslady said...

I too blame publishers for pushing certain genres and gimicks. And unfortunately I have to blame some authors for writing something they aren't very good at just because it's the so-called rage.

I think Raine said it well :)

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

How about a paranormal with every stinking imaginary beastie ever documented running amok on the pages? I mean, why stop at vamps and weres. Let's through in some immortal warriors based on one mythology, and then through some others in on... oh... Greek or Mayan mythology. Who cares? And ghosts. And gargoyles are cool. Paranormal is hot, so why not?

ARGH. I'm almost nearly seeming to scream again.

Rene said...

It's like every other form of entertainment; the competition is fierce for an audience and we writers are now be sucked into the "high concept" idea.

I've never liked high concept when applied to romance novels, it leaves the real purpose behind. Readers are more interested in the meat and potatoes of the romance over the frills.