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I wish AAR would. . .
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KataO



Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 83
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where can I found this discussion about Passion?
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1265

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Katie (kat) wrote:
CG, I do think you are being rude about Dick's posts. Neutral Just my observation. I like reading his comments which I find pithy and clever.

I agree. I admire his ability to say more in fewer words as well as his apparent unshakable civility.
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:


If AAR seems "irrelevant", it's only because the site is one of the Grand Old Dames of the online romance community. Look at the topics mined by LLB in her ATBF column--they remain superbly written and groundbreaking, but the column ended four years ago, so it's just another static page. Other places may appear more "relevant", but to my mind, it's because they are more specialized in voice/tone/agenda (i.e. new fave blog Wonkomance is devoted to discussing romance novels and types of romance novels that rarely meet mainstream tastes), and because their "ATBF"-type columns, so to speak, remain current.

The only disconnect I see with AAR and the rest of the online romance community is the decline in the presence of authors and readers on the site. I probably sound like a broken record right now, but I miss all of the columns and insights from the "writer's side" and "readers speak" sections. All AAR provides these days are reviews and blog commentary--that isn't really something that entices the average visitor to stick around and browse for more content.


I am one of those that really misses the ATBF columns. Laurie always seemed to come up with the most amazing topics and those topics seemed to generate serious conversation every single week. I miss that.
However, if I were asked to articulate what the difference is between the blogs and the old ATBF's, I would struggle to do so. I would be interested in your perspective on this. Have we discussed it all to death? Or have romances, in stretching to reach as many people as possible, become so bland they are a subject that is almost impossible to really discuss? I know for my part I have to participate in the challenges in order to force myself to stretch my reading wings. Stretching is the only way I keep the genre interesting and relevant.

Anyway, I am truly interested in hearing what made ATBF work so much better than the blogs.

Thanks,
maggie b.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maggie, I think you may be on to something with the romance genre having a problem of becoming bland, or perhaps generic. I'm not sure what would be a good way to freshen it up though so I find myself often looking outside the genre. It's nice to be surprised now and then and the romance genre so rarely does that. I don't mean for shock value, I mean the excitement as a reader of thinking to myself ...I didn't see that coming! I'm thinking that's why more and more these days I'm drawn to amateur works or fan fiction, they often have a fresh feel that's missing from the more polished works.

IMHO of course, just thinking out loud.

Linda
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
It's nice to be surprised now and then and the romance genre so rarely does that. I don't mean for shock value, I mean the excitement as a reader of thinking to myself ...I didn't see that coming! I'm thinking that's why more and more these days I'm drawn to amateur works or fan fiction, they often have a fresh feel that's missing from the more polished works.

IMHO of course, just thinking out loud.

Linda


Just my IMHO but I think the biggest problem with the romance genre is the contract writers What I mean by that are writers who are simply looking to sell their work, they really aren't invested in the story they are writing. They often "copy" whatever is successful. So for example, when Bridget Jones Diary was a success you had a bunch of writers flock to Red Dress Ink and to give that a try. Publishers love it because the books are easy to market {If you liked Bridget Jones you'll love . . .} But to readers the books come across as passionless copies because that is what they are.

Fan fiction is written in passion. It might lack finesse but the writer loves the characters and story he/she is telling. Whatever else the books lack, they don't lack that. I know that when the Star Trek novels were written by fans I loved them. I could tell the minute they went to contract writers. In fact one novel read like a book by someone who had never actually watched the series. Guess what? When I did some internet research about the author she admitted she had never liked Star Trek before getting the contract and that she watched just four episodes to familiarize herself with the series. Four epis!

Long story short, I agree with you. Passionless carbon copies meant to sell might be a short term gain for the publishers but taking some risks is what the market needs right now.

maggie b.
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really want to know in what way you think I've been rude about Dick's post as opposed to opinionated? Sincere question.




CG -- calling someone stodgy, old and set in their ways is per se disparaging. Following that with in essence giving him permission to continue being himself ( I want you to know I find nothing wrong with being old, stodgy and set in your ways ) - is arrogant. Stating that you mean none of it to be an insult is ridiculous, because of course it's an insult and of course you know it is. Insulting someone because you disagree with their opinion is rude.

On topic, I agree that the romance genre itself seems boring and almost washed up. I am reading far fewer romances than I was even a couple of years ago. When I'm in the mood to read romance I find it difficult to find a book that interests me because most of them seem so familiar.


Last edited by desiderata on Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:

Anyway, I am truly interested in hearing what made ATBF work so much better than the blogs.

Thanks,
maggie b.


You know, I think it was LLB's sharp, unmistakable writing style which, at the same time, felt universal and "open". A blog post implies that it is the blogger's space--at least it feels so to me. Also, the very construct of a blog is too ephemeral--it's on page 1 today, and shifted to page 2 and then page 3, etc in the ensuing days.

The ATBF column was that--a column. It was there to read and digest, and one could respond on the message board at any time. It also felt less about trying to keep up with hot topics; instead it looked at a particular book or a particular author or trope or theme, which gave it context. ATBF skimmed the fat off discussions to frame the column in the context of the actual books.

I've made an effort to stop generalizing about the genre after someone on the AAR boards challenged everyone in a particular thread to list titles of books that fulfill our complaints. Needless to say, I couldn't really come up with a lot of titles because I was complaining based on hearsay or skimming through reviews of books I never had any interest in reading. Laughing

Plus, I liked that it was an opinion piece--that fosters more discussion than ending a blog post with questions that are kind of "agree or disagree?".

Linda in sw va wrote:
Maggie, I think you may be on to something with the romance genre having a problem of becoming bland, or perhaps generic. I'm not sure what would be a good way to freshen it up though so I find myself often looking outside the genre. It's nice to be surprised now and then and the romance genre so rarely does that. I don't mean for shock value, I mean the excitement as a reader of thinking to myself ...I didn't see that coming! I'm thinking that's why more and more these days I'm drawn to amateur works or fan fiction, they often have a fresh feel that's missing from the more polished works.

IMHO of course, just thinking out loud.

Linda


I definitely agree with you about the genre lacking the WOW factor these days. My longtime haven in the genre--historical romance--makes my eyes glaze over, and not even the freshest of voices can overcome the overdone plots and characters. I do admire authors who push the boundaries a little (Courtney Milan, for example), but it's still boundary-pushing in Regency/Victorian Britain. I've actually been reading more contemporary romances these days when I'm not browsing online or in bookstores and just grabbing what looks interesting.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:

Just my IMHO but I think the biggest problem with the romance genre is the contract writers What I mean by that are writers who are simply looking to sell their work, they really aren't invested in the story they are writing. They often "copy" whatever is successful. So for example, when Bridget Jones Diary was a success you had a bunch of writers flock to Red Dress Ink and to give that a try. Publishers love it because the books are easy to market {If you liked Bridget Jones you'll love . . .} But to readers the books come across as passionless copies because that is what they are.

Fan fiction is written in passion. It might lack finesse but the writer loves the characters and story he/she is telling. Whatever else the books lack, they don't lack that. I know that when the Star Trek novels were written by fans I loved them. I could tell the minute they went to contract writers. In fact one novel read like a book by someone who had never actually watched the series. Guess what? When I did some internet research about the author she admitted she had never liked Star Trek before getting the contract and that she watched just four episodes to familiarize herself with the series. Four epis!

Long story short, I agree with you. Passionless carbon copies meant to sell might be a short term gain for the publishers but taking some risks is what the market needs right now.

maggie b.


Really, they hired a writer that didn't even like the original series? Ouch! That's pretty sad and what a disservice to the fans. Crying or Very sad

Adding to that, a lot of what I've been reading these days aside from fan fiction has been inexpensive ebooks that are self published. Yes they have some editing issues but the stories are good, they feel like they don't conform and they sure as heck don't feel generic. The more popular ones have been picked up by major publishers, such as Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan, soon to be in paperback form. I think the fact that these stories don't have to adhere to a certain publishers standards (demands, whatever) allows the authors the freedom to write from the heart and makes for better reading. When a publisher sees that they are success they make an offer and it's picked up but I shudder to think what changes a publisher would have demanded be made to these stories if they had to go through them first and get their approval. I imagine all sorts of...no you can't do this, no the heroine can not do this, the hero can't do that, etc. while they wipe any originality right out of them.

I've had to look outside AAR for reviews on these kinds of books so to bring this full circle and in line with the topic, I wish that AAR would review more ebooks that are author published. I realize they wouldn't be sent them for free but many of them are not that expensive.

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner


Last edited by Linda in sw va on Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:46 am; edited 3 times in total
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:
The ATBF column was that--a column. It was there to read and digest, and one could respond on the message board at any time. It also felt less about trying to keep up with hot topics; instead it looked at a particular book or a particular author or trope or theme, which gave it context. ATBF skimmed the fat off discussions to frame the column in the context of the actual books.

Good description of the ATBF column. I'll add a few things to that. It was a column shown weekly and up on screen for that amount of time. For the most part, it was easy to stay on topic and it was cast in the earlier format of message forums, in that posts appeared beneath the posts to which they referred (easier to follow certain paths of conversation).

I'm okay with the fact that the ATBF column is no longer here. Actually, as well as it was accepted back then, I'm not so sure in this age of blogging that it would be responded to as well now. Everything today is so much more instantly here and gone that we don't expect columns to stick around very long, much less responded to past a couple of days. Since the column was more than just a few paragraphs long, it was obvious a lot of work went into it; so with all the other stuff going on here, I'm not sure anyone really has the time to write something like that on a weekly basis. It served its use and we did have some really great and stirring discussions. But its time has passed.
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CG



Joined: 27 Jan 2012
Posts: 67
Location: Central Texas

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After spending some time thinking about Noirfemme’s points about ATBF, I think this might be part of what attracts me to places like Dear Author, Wonk-o-Mance, Romance Novels for Feminists and Radish Reviews to name a few of the other blogs I visit. They frequently post opinion pieces or articles (for lack of a better word) that examine, challenge and reframe the conventions of the romance genre. These pieces and the comments they generate have made me not only question and change some of my own assumptions about the genre, but my larger worldview. So the disappearance of ATBF, Writer’s Side and Readers Speak may be what I feel is missing from AAR, as opposed to certain voices. Or maybe it’s a combination of both, as I still feel it’s important to both review LGBT and POC romances and make them easily discoverable.


Desiderata wrote:
Quote:
CG -- calling someone stodgy, old and set in their ways is per se disparaging. Following that with in essence giving him permission to continue being himself ( I want you to know I find nothing wrong with being old, stodgy and set in your ways ) - is arrogant. Stating that you mean none of it to be an insult is ridiculous, because of course it's an insult and of course you know it is. Insulting someone because you disagree with their opinion is rude.


Calling someone stodgy, old and set in their ways is only per se disparaging if you find the terms inherently disparaging. Maybe you consider the word “old” to be disparaging or an insult, but I emphatically do not. And if you do, perhaps you might want to examine why that is. Nor do I consider being set in your ways an insult. I freely admit that in many aspects of my life I’m pretty set in my ways and change can be extremely difficult for me. I don't consider this a negative, it just is. I’ll concede ‘stodgy’ was perhaps not the best choice of words as Dick and I seem to have differing definitions, which I believe I clarified to mean old-fashioned in a later post. And no, old-fashioned is not disparaging. I don’t even know how to respond to the assertion that I’m somehow “giving him permission to continue to be himself” and I see you conveniently left out the rest of my statement where I said his “voice and contributions are just as important and valid as the next person’s”.

“Stating that you mean none of it to be an insult is ridiculous, because of course it's an insult and of course you know it is.” Actually, I know nothing of the sort and frankly, I find it pretty arrogant that you claim to know what's in my mind and rude that you’re essentially calling me a liar. Talk about insulting, not to mention hypocritical.

I’ll say it again because obviously it bears repeating. Dick, I apologize if I’ve offended you, that was not my intent. My intent (which seems to have been lost) was to point out the relationship between what I perceive to be missing voices and missing or hard to find reviews.
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