Sunday, July 26, 2015

Romance Academics at the RWA

As usual, I wasn't at the conference but I read quite a lot of tweets and blog posts about it. One exchange of tweets related to the panel on:
Why Professors Love to Study Romance: The 10 Year Anniversary of RWA’s Academic Grant (SPECIAL)

Speakers: Conseula Francis, Joanna Gregson, Stacy Holden, Madeline Hunter, Jayashree Kamble, Jen Lois, Sarah Frantz Lyons, and Catherine Roach

At the ten-year anniversary of RWA’s Academic Research Grant program, a select panel of award winners will discuss how the grants have supported a wide range of projects that raise the profile of the genre and bring attention to the craft, values, and unique voices of romance writers. Attendees will learn what this particular group of scholar-readers finds interesting, challenging, and compelling about romance fiction.
Here's the exchange:

If an author asked me what they could do to support my research, I'd be very tempted to suggest that they go and read Jennifer Crusie's handout (also from the conference) on motif and metaphor, with the caveats that, obviously, the author doesn't have to act on my or Crusie's suggestion and also that this may not necessarily help other researchers. I do like a juicy motif/metaphor, though and what Crusie says makes it clear that what she's arguing for is not the imposition of extraneous metaphors just for their own sake, but the discovery of motifs and metaphors which are already
personal to your story. The metaphors that you choose, consciously or subconsciously, are part of its deeper meaning; they grow organically from the story you're telling. That's why it's best to find the metaphors already present in your text after your first draft, rather than superimposing a literary idea on it.
Since they're already in the text, romance scholars may find them anyway, without additional help from the author. But if working on them a little in the way Crusie suggests can make them clearer to us and enhance other readers' experience of a text (which is what Crusie suggests they'll do), then it seems like a not too onerous suggestion to make to authors.

If anyone can point me in the direction of more tweets or blog posts related to that panel, please let me know and I'll try to add links here.

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