I have been noticing the divergent focuses of novels from different genres this week.
The hunky hubby is at long last reading a much beloved series featuring sparkly heroes of the blood slurping variety, infuriating mechanics that burst into bestial form at the first hint of a temper tantrum, and of course a klutzy girl that plunges into the arms of every dangerous mythical creature that her small town can offer. Upon completion of the first novel he noted with a hint of despair that the reader was not privy to much of the bloodletting that occurred in the climactic scene. The focus was on being rescued and awakening in the arms of her hero.
My response: “So?”
His: “But where is the blood?”
Me: “Blood smood, she’s focusing on the real story.”
Him: “But the whole big fight, you barely saw it.”
Me: “Who cares about the fight, the important thing is that he saved her.”
Him: “How do I know that he saved her IF THERE IS NO BLOOD!”
Now I am not saying that the conversation went precisely like that but this does give you its essence. And then I recalled reading guy books and being frustrated that the author had missed the main story. He allowed only a paragraph or two for the romance and spent a ridiculous amount of time describing general slaughter and the various moving pieces within his hero’s classic sports car and how one would maintain them in one climate or another and under different driving conditions.
This got me thinking about focus. In novels for girls action is great, myth is wonderful, but the real story has got to include a boy and a girl or the whole thing fizzles into insignificance. Guy novels tend to focus on the action, the various ways that the hero accomplishes his goal (cough cough… bloodshed and gore) and poetry concerning the detailed operation of various mechanical devices. And as I am reading this 5 book fantasy series from the 90’s I realized that classic fantasy is focused not just on the romance or on the goal or on the bloodshed, but on the journey or quest. Nonetheless, I have found that I can enjoy most genres if I adjust my expectations ahead of time and consider what the focus is likely to be. Although I must admit to having difficulty when there is no plot! Arrrrrg. Not that I’m criticizing anyone’s reading choices…Sarah.