Thursday, November 06, 2008

Busy Times

Sarah's been very busy recently, and she explains why in her latest post at Romancing the Blog. She can see parallels between the romance genre and recent political events:
maybe this lesson that Obama has taught America is the lesson that romance can teach its readers and which its readers can then teach the world. “We are the change that we’ve been looking for,” Obama has told us, “We are the ones that we seek.”
And when I said that Sarah had been busy, I was also referring to the fact that she's been posting more at Dear Author. Her latest post there is about the sexual content in erotic romances.

Also making connections between the current economic/political climate and romance reading is The Scotsman's Claire Black who suggests that
as the news gets worse, the need for some kind of escape gets all the more pressing and where there are losers there are always, always, winners.

Talk of this kind may be perceived as a little unseemly when three million of us are in danger of sliding into negative equity [...] but hey, economics aren't personal – it's the law of the market and the fact is when things are heading down the dumper for some, they're looking peachy keen for others.

So, who's a winner in the current meltdown? [...] The victor in this case is romance. There, doesn't it make you feel better just reading that? Or perhaps it would if I'd written it more breathily, full of sensual glances, smouldering eyes and unbridled passion. The real winner in our economic meltdown, you see, is the book publisher Mills & Boon.
In the UK we haven't had an election, but we did get some TV programmes about romance. Sam Wollaston describes them both:
Consuming Passion: 100 Years of Mills & Boon (BBC4, Sunday). This is a lovely drama. Dead clever too: three stories - from the 1900s, the 1970s and now - artfully plaited together. All that ties the disparate strands is this strange publishing house that for a century has been churning out the same story, millions and millions of times. [...]

How To Write a Mills & Boon (BBC4, Sunday). Trying is Stella Duffy, a serious, literary novelist. M&B is way, way out of Stella's comfort zone; her thing is more along the lines of lesbian-noir-realism. Or something.

It would have been very easy for her to be sniffy and condescending about Mills & Boon, but to her credit she's the opposite. She has a real go at it - listens to people, goes on a writing course in Tuscany (prime M&B territory), stifles her attempts to write what she wants to write. And she succeeds, in that the editor likes what she's done and would have taken it on had Stella wanted to continue with it.

The programme is a success too.

There's already been some discussion about How to Write a Mills & Boon at the Smart Bitches' site. During the programme Stella goes on a course to learn how to write Mills & Boon. As reported on the I Heart Presents blog, this was Sharon Kendrick’s writing workshop and, also on the I Heart Presents blog, Jennie Lucas , who's featured on the programme, wrote about her time at this workshop (parts 1, 2, and 3).

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