The Lyons' Den

Home of author Brenna Lyons. Join Brenna as she waxes poetic...or rants and raves.

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Location: Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States

What do you get when you have a child writing seriously at the age of 7 and competing at the age of 11? A woman raised in an inner-city DMZ, weaned on too many nights of watching classic Chiller Theater until the wee hours of the morning with no parental guidance? Someone who is rumored to have picked locks to libraries to get her reads in? You end up with the Susan Lucci of e-publishing, the president of EPIC, and a driven, sleep-deprived author of fantasy and horror, straight genre through romance, dark romance, and erotica, poetry and articles. You find a woman who narrowed her college degree choices based on a comment a teacher made about her becoming "the perfect auditor or the perfect thief." And, you probably find a woman who is rumored to have once incited a accident. With degrees in accounting and computer programming, backgrounds in everything from teaching to clerking, tracking fraud suspects to working for the Air Force and the Navy as as civilian, it's strange irony that Brenna Lyons will become best known for her first love...writing. Brenna is an active member of EWAG, BroadUniverse, EPIC, WRW, ERWA and TELL.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Suffering for your art?

Recently, a rather well-known male mystery writer made several tacky comments about women writing. I won't give this yahoo the benefit of mentioning his name, thus giving him more promotion, but I did want to give my gut reaction to what he had to say.

In short, Mr. Mystery seems to feel that women aren't serious writers, that the Women's Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance, etc. genres are fluff, brainless, not worthy of award. He also states that women aren't serious writers and are not willing to suffer for our art as men are. According to him, men are serious writers, and women aren't.

I hardly know where to begin, considering how flawed his comments are. I seem to find a lot of comments like this to rebut, but this one is especially dear to my heart, since it comes from the most blatant misogynistic streak I've encountered in YEARS!

Let's take his comments one by one, shall we?

All women-centered fiction is brainless fluff, not worthy of awards... I believe that was the first comment that caught my attention. Well, that just goes to show that Mr. Mystery doesn't read the genre. That shouldn't surprise anyone. It also shows that he's firmly stuck in the pecking order crap. I'd even go so far as to say that he's part of the "Good Ole Boy" Club of Publishing and doesn't believe the little women have a place in publishing. (We should probably all be home, waiting to rub his shoulders... Wait, I do that in addition to writing, so I will get back on subject now.) Sorry. I think Andre Norton took care of that belief a long time ago. Maybe Mr. Mystery would care to join the 21st Century sometime soon.

These days, women writing (and reading, for that matter) have college educations and incorporate that education into our writing. When we write fantasy, we world build with the best of them. When we write science, we make sure our science base is factual and our theories plausible. When we write history, we can cite the first-hand sources to back our knowledge. We research. We question. We do it right!

Add to that the fact, as I have stated before, that the readers' expectations are at an all-time high point. Those books that don't provide a solid base may be fluff, but they also don't compete in the same markets as the type of books that Mr. Mystery either dismisses or isn't aware of. Painting all woman-centered fiction with the same broad brush is not only unfair... I would go so far as to say that it is the sign of a weak mind to attack blindly what he doesn't understand.

Women aren't serious writers, willing to suffer for their art. Men are.


Sorry... I had to take a break to chuckle. WOMEN aren't serious? Show me a man who takes care of three small children all day then gives up SLEEP to write for half the night to meet a deadline, who edits at the computer while he nurses a baby (okay...I'll even give him bottle feeding!) and checks homework, who negotiates a contract while making dinner. Women are die-hard serious about what we're doing.

Most female writers I know are wives and mothers...or even grandmothers. We aren't writing in our free time or even lucky enough to EVER give up an office day job to do it. There is no giving up motherhood! And many of us have day jobs on top of kids and still find time to write. We MAKE the time to write. We MAKE the time to meet our deadlines. Mr. Mystery believes he suffers for his art? Try living on four hours of sleep per night just to realize your dream of writing.

I've often wondered if men really believe this ridiculous tripe...or if it's a subconscious cry. They HAVE to believe they suffer to create something, because they don't suffer to create the ultimate...a new life? Or maybe that's why women don't claim to suffer for their art when they really do. We know the true suffering, so creating worlds, characters and plotline (while essential to our being) is a minor twinge in comparison. I've certainly never needed an epidural to get edits done. I like to state it... I was (metaphorically speaking) born with a pen in hand. If I do it right the first time, why should I suffer for it?



Blogger Desiree Erotique said...

Well said, Brenna. Obviously, the man's scope of women's lit is limited or he's just a bigot.

9:02 AM  

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