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Why We Don’t All Like the Same Books

We welcome our guest blogger Nōnen Títi …

Why do we go around saying that one or another book “is good”, “is fascinating”, “is realistic”, or, alternatively, “is stupid”, “is simplistic” or “is not proper literature”? Why do we express our opinion about certain genres of books as if they are factual?

I am not talking about books that can justifiably be labelled “not very good”, because they have problems with grammar, punctuation, cohesion, pace, tone and characterization – problems related to the ability to use language or the craft of writing itself – which are somewhat objective measurements.

I am talking about our assumption that, despite referring to different genres and believing that “all people are unique”, we can somehow judge the quality of a story according to its content.

For example, fans of science fiction, especially hard science fiction, tend to dismiss everything that has a sense of magic as “unrealistic”, while their own books tend to be dismissed as having “cardboard characters”; many intellectual readers have a habit of calling action or romance stories “simple” or “stupid”, while others believe that books that focus on dialogue are “just talk and not story” or characters are “not really human” if they lack the expected desire for sex or adventure. And many still believe that a story that is not filled with a lot of high-brow words is “not literature”.

In other words, we assume that “a good book” must comply with our personal sense of reality, human nature and importance.

In short, we tend to believe that our picture of the world is the only correct picture, because we have lived with that picture our entire life, and we will righteously dismiss the others as “wrong”.

Worse than that, we tend to judge not only the book, but its writer and the readers of those books according to the same standards, so that we might think that people who read ‘simple’ stories are simple people.

But people are not all alike – and they are not all unique either – so that the attraction we feel towards certain genres of books (and characters) are a direct result of our inborn differences. These differences come in types that are like “genres” of books, while each person is as unique as different books are.

Now, it turns out that people of the same type tend to like similar books or contents.

For example, those “hard science fiction” readers I mentioned above, are usually people who are themselves quite technical and much better at math or computers than they are at dealing with people. This is why their characters tend to be a bit flat in the eyes of those people who tend to be naturally empathic, and whose deep (and sometimes dark) characters and their relationships are prominent in their stories, while they tend to brush over the technology. Whether as readers or writers, both might like science fiction, because their attention is not on today, but on what they imagine to be possible in the future, yet they emphasize either the technology or the people.

You could say these “future-people” are either “data-people” or “people-people”.

Alternatively, people who are naturally practical and who live for the here-and-now are not usually very much interested in stories that take either science and technology or human nature to the far reaches of the possible. They prefer stories they can relate to, like family or animal stories, action, adventure and they might read historical novels or biographies. We’ll name them “today-people”, and they also come in two types: “data-people” and “people-people”.

So now we have four groups of people, and each naturally feels more at home with some genres and not with others, although there is no clear boundary.

However, contrary to the common belief, fantasy does not belong with the “future-people”. Fantasy has many facets; it can focus on adventure, on people or on magic, each of which will attract different readers.

“Today-people” tend to accept the facts of the (fantasy) story as real for the duration of the book. They don’t care whether it is realistic or possible in the future; they accept the facts of the fiction and they enjoy the story exactly because it is intangible – because the story allows them to step out of their real world for a little bit. For example, they accept that the hero can fly.

“Future-people” are forever imagining what the future might look like, so that they will take the ‘facts’ of today or of science, and they create the fiction from those facts. They enjoy the fantasy, because it gives them new ideas. They might contemplate how people could fly in the future and use that as a basis for a new story or invention.

In this way, different genres are naturally attractive to different ‘genres’ of people and instead of dismiss books that don’t match our own nature, we might try and learn something about each other if we get a little bit brave and try something different for a change. The great thing about fiction is that it allows us to step into the mind (the perspective) of those different people for a little bit.

And this wonderful little book shop is the perfect place to give it a try.

Of course, these types of personalities are not really known by the names I gave them in this post. They are known by letter indicators, and instead of “genres’, I have used musical styles to explain those differences in my non-fiction books.

Thank you for reading.

Nōnen Títi

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Book, Chocolate and Wine Pairings – Perfect for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, Valentine’s Day – we can almost hear the eye rolls. We don’t want you to put up with  sappy, insincere cards, overpriced flowers, and the societal pressure to be paired off.

For those who are going to do Valentine’s Day on their own terms, we at Writer’s Plot have some interesting and thoughtful ideas as we acknowledge the one great unifying truth: generally, people love presents. And that includes presents to yourself.

As book lovers and avid readers, we ask – What’s better than a good book? A good book paired with the perfect glass of wine, and favourite chocolate deliciousness of course. However, we also know that all books are best consumed with cheese, but we are leaving that for another day.

Not a wine drinker? Then we have some alternatives further down the page –

There is no wrong or right way of doing this, and here are a few to get you started…

Continue reading Book, Chocolate and Wine Pairings – Perfect for Valentine’s Day

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We caught another author with the promise of a choccie fish!

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, V. L. Dreyer On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.

Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Comfy?

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway?

Depends on my mood, location, and budget at any given time.  I’ll pretty much eat anything that isn’t spicy.  Not a fan of pizza, though.

Continue reading We caught another author with the promise of a choccie fish!

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Please welcome Antony Millen to the hot seat

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Antony Millen. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Continue reading Please welcome Antony Millen to the hot seat

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Helping us help you

Good morning authors and readers,

Hope you’re enjoying this rather beautiful crisp winter weather. It’s much easier to cope with winter when it isn’t raining and blowing a gale!

Now to the point of this blog post …

We do have a request, instead of buying a coffee today (or tomorrow) would you please donate that money to our give-a-little page and help us keep our doors open? Seriously every dollar will help.

Here’s the link: Writers Plot Give a Little

We truly appreciate your help.
And would very much like to continue providing support for Kiwi authors.

Continue reading Helping us help you

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Our first victim for 2017 is Belinda Mellor!

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Belinda Mellor. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a headshot every time.

Belinda Mellor
Belinda Mellor

Continue reading Our first victim for 2017 is Belinda Mellor!