I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and read a genre I don't normally read. I won't tell you what genre or the author of the book (I will say it was published by a well respected publisher) because frankly, I wasn't impressed. And I have no desire to bad mouth another writer or publisher. I realize that some books just aren't designed for some people. As an author I know that when I send my work in not everyone will like it and I have to be okay with that. But I think this goes beyond just my preferences.
The writing was okay but it wasn't original or spectacular. The plot was fairly weak. And my major problem was that the motivation of the main character vaguely resembled swiss cheese. From basically the first chapter I knew I wasn't going to be happy with the book. So why did I finish? Idle curiosity. Research. And my ego probably needed a nice stroking.
But it made me think. From speaking with someone else who's reading in this genre, the problems with this book aren't unique. I can't claim they are genre wide because I haven't read widely within the genre, but I think I can safely say this wasn't a one off deal of a weak book. It made me appreciate the caliber of characterization, motivation and unusual plot that I've come to expect out of my beloved romance novels.
So my question is, do you read outside of romance? If so have you found that one measures up to the other (as much as an orange can be compared to an apple)? Do you find that romance novels are stronger in technique? I'm wondering if this is the case, if it's because we're so well connected within the genre. If it's because we support our unpublished and teach them the skills they need before they're published. If that we expect more and therefore deliver more. Or if maybe I'm just biased.
What do you think?
P.S. I'm at RT today so I don't know when I'll be able to check in, but I'll try. Miss everyone!