(but not the last words I’ll be writing, because I’m hoping to get another couple of pages in before I hit the hay)
I just ran across something that made me realize that I’m not bothered when generalizations are used to criticize the romance (or other) genres. For example, “So many alpha men!” We all have our preferences, and not all of them run the same way, and we all seek out books that we think we will like according to our individual tastes.
I am bothered when generalizations are used to criticize a specific book/relationship. “This romance sucks! Yet another alpha man! Why couldn’t she be with a beta hero?”
Especially when it ignores a) the heroine’s character, b) the success/failure of the romance and the chemistry (or lack thereof) as described in the book. (If it ignores that particular heroine would walk all over a hero who wasn’t alpha, for example.) The problem is, of course, separating a dislike for alpha heroes and that the book didn’t work according to personal taste — and recognizing that the book just doesn’t work. Sometimes, an asshole alpha and a TSTL doormat have a romance that does work, because they are made for each other — but that doesn’t mean the book is good, because…well, asshole and TSTL.
I do have a soft spot for betas, but I find myself wishing less for certain trends in romance than just finding the individual book that works on its own terms, no matter what category the characters fall in to.
Taste and technique. Here’s to hoping that in 2009, all of the books we read (and write) will hit our sweet spots in both categories (or if not, that one aspect of it will hit your sweet spot so hard, that you don’t mind so much about the other).