Sunday, September 9, 2012

Poking Fun of Another Genre

There is nothing I enjoy more than reading about how to accomplish things in a formulaic fashion, like this funny "how to" in writing a bestselling fantasy novel. I'm not writing this post just to share this parody with my writer friends, but to also discuss a very polarizing concept.

Genre nit picking, much like I did in 10 Things I Hate About Romance Novels, isn't as much about picking on the authors as it is about picking on the elements of each genre. Each has its brand, its look and feel. There is a reason for this. They all serve a different purpose and reach different audiences. However, each has the same mission, to feed the hungry minds of readers all around the world.

Keep in mind, and I discovered this recently, each also has their share of hard-core enthusiasts who will fight you tooth and nail if you poke fun of their favorite genre in any form or fashion. So, imagine the flurry of comments on our Facebook group when another writer posted the same link. Some laughed out loud in a textual sort of way; others were indifferent and simply stated it was funny. 

Now you're transported to the shower scene in Psycho and the lurking enthusiast pops out of nowhere and berates everyone for laughing and being mean to their fellow writers of fantasy. Instant dose of Debbie Downer.

I thought about this a little more and I wanted to put this in perspective so people who care about the process of writing and producing literature for readers everywhere can learn HOW to support one another in a much diversified community, the writing community.

The world of literature is composed of elemental groups much like the military; each genre is like a different branch of service. The Navy provides support by sea. The Air Force provides air support, just as you might suspect. The Army puts boots on the ground and the Marine Corps is a fighting force of readiness to be first in combat with all branches at their disposal. But, we never forget, they all have the same mission, protecting our great country.

My husband is a retired Marine; my son is medically retired from the Army. I can't tell you how many Marine and Army jokes fly back and forth between the two. The other day, when we were outside my son's apartment, the UPS man drove up with a delivery and asked my husband, "Are you in the Army?"

"No, that would be my son."

"Oh, I'm sorry." They both laughed.

The UPS guy gave my husband a pen so he could sign for the piece of mail. "I was in the Air Force myself," he offered.

"And you freely admit that?" The UPS guy's laughter was genuine.

"I'm a retired Marine." My husband never gives up an opportunity to deliver this tidbit of information when engaged in a discussion with other service members, past and present.

They poked fun of each other a little more until the delivery was made and all necessary documents were signed. I could tell they had a deep respect for one another. One thing they understood, and something which all service members understand, whether they served in one branch or the other, though they all had different uniforms, different obstacles, and very different outlooks on strategy and tactics, they all had a love for their country and strove to protect it together.

That's how we need to understand the cross culture of the different genres. It's not disrespectful to poke fun at the elements of one or the other. It's not elitist to have a favorite. 

There are enough fans to go around. Let's not forget why we each write. The way you support each other is to recognize your differences and understand why genres work the way they do and how each supports the reader base.

Fantasy won't always be popular, nor will romance. Each genre will have its day. In the meantime, let me say this. I support all writers, even those who poke fun with parodies. If it's funny, that author should get props. And, so I say, that was some funny shit!

Do you think parodies are mean spirited? Why or why not?