If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A BOGUS DIVISION

Isaac Bashevis Singer, a winner of the Nobel prize for literature, said, “a good writer is basically a story teller, not a scholar or redeemer of mankind, ” and, “a story for me means a plot where there are some surprises. Because that is how life is—full of surprises.” He thought the relationship between a man and a woman a key element in writing.

I don’t believe writers and readers started the great divide between what is literary and what is genre. Dead authors featured in literature courses offered by universities wrote mysteries and thrillers. Mystery and romance writers today polish their writing as well as their plots. Who keeps this division alive? While I was a graduate student studying for a MA, I would have guessed it was the faculty of the English Department.

Robert Parker, author of the Spenser series, was a professor in that department, and Gary Goshgarian, who sometimes writes under the pen name Gary Braver, is a professor and writes science fiction and thrillers. However, the scholarly contingent of the faculty dominated what students studied. Literature was reduced to its smallest elements—symbols, images, and words.

Since I couldn’t work up enthusiasm for Thomas Pynchon and other twentieth century writers who espoused internal monologues (I have yet to have a personal epiphany involving such a monologue), I had to study for my final exam James Fenimore Cooper or Jonathan Edwards. Our early American literature professor wanted us to see Natty Bumppo as one of the earliest American heroes continuing in an unbroken chain down to latter day heroic representatives in the department. I couldn’t work up the right degree of admiration and devotion. Also, I couldn’t get past Natty’s name. Frankly, I have little time for the Puritan element in religion and Jonathan Edwards’s prose wasn’t the best I’ve ever read but my choices were limited. Benjamin Franklin wrote in the eighteenth century but he wasn’t a choice.

As a reader, I know genre writers can write great literature and literary writers can write exciting mysteries. Mysteries and thrillers without a touch of romance can be dry or mostly a brain tease. Love is never far from its opposite, hate, or its close relative, jealousy. A woman, the oldest daughter and frequently forced to care for her siblings, might marry a sick man so she can continue in her role as care giver. Suppose a healthy male finds her physically attractive and wants to protect her, is she going to kill her sick husband for the chance at a more lusty relationship? Cheat on a man or a woman and you can inspire the most primitive rage. Jealousy and envy can quickly eclipse the emotions of the kindest person. Will eliminating the rival rekindle a lost love?

Love and hate are so intimately linked that the possibilities for murder and mayhem swallowing up tender feelings are endless. Conflict in parent-child relationships carry over into romantic relationships producing violence, and the paranormal when the parent is dead.

What a pity we have to pigeon-hole stories when they can connect at so many levels, link together the sublime and the ridiculous, and explore the emotions of so many strangers.

Seriously, does anyone still believe genre writers are all plot and no character? Why can’t writers of genre be considered “good” writers and given equal respect?

6 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

Maybe it is actually jealousy. Genre writers earn more than most literary writers. I went to a writers' conference one time. The editor there said that "literary" books were defined by how much dust was on the jacket. I don't feel strongly on the subject since, if it is well written, I'll read everything.

Pauline Alldred said...

I'm not one hundred percent certain but I believe an unknown has more trouble publishing a literary novel than a genre novel. Again, the numbers of literary novels bought could be due partly to education. I don't remember reading any literary novel for a class and being able to just enjoy it. I had to think about the quiz or the essay that would ask for symbols or themes. Rarely was I asked about a favorite character.

Polly said...

I have to say, I've enjoyed very few literary novels. There's just something missing. Excitement, I think. In school, dissecting a book took all the joy from it. Now, I've reached an age when I'm able to close a book that leaves me cold without feeling guilty. I used to struggle through them. I want to be entertained. I want to find something in a book that leaves me breathless to turn the page. Dennis Lehane does that for me on two levels: story and writing.

Stacy Juba said...

Hi guys,
I think you do a great job with the blog and passed on a blog award to you. You can visit my post at http://stacyjuba.com/blog/2010/10/14/passing-on-the-one-lovely-blog-award-to-deserving-blogs/ and if you'd like to pass it on to 8-15 deserving blogs sometime, you can follow the format of the post and download the jpeg. Keep up the good work!

Ricky Bush said...

The late, great John D. MacDonald wrote fabulous literature. He simply chose the genre for the vehicle. James Lee Burke can craft up some nice tales, too.

Congrats on the blog award.

Pauline Alldred said...

Hi, Polly, isn't it great to be able to put down a boring book and not have to worry about taking a quiz?

Stacy, thank you for the compliment and award. We'll certainly be looking to pass on the award.

Hi, Ricky, there are so many examples of great writing in genre novels, I couldn't begin to cover them in a blog.