GRRrrr, boys and girls! I’m Jean-Robert, the Genre Bear!
Right now, your body is going through lots of scary changes, so Howard and Sandy asked me to have a talk with you about literary genres.
As you grow taller and different parts of your body start to take on startling and unexpected dimensions, you’ll also find yourself thinking about what genre you would like to write in. You’ll hear things in the street about genres, and the best thing to remember is that all of it is true. But before you start making any big decisions, let me tell you some things that will help you as you learn to move your body in ways that will upset older people.
Today I’m going to talk about “romance.” More books are written about people falling in love than about anything else. In English, these books are called romance novels. But in most Romance languages, any kind of novel is called a romance, not just romance novels. Romance languages are called Romance languages because they come from the language that people used to speak in Rome, before Rome was invaded by the Goths. Although the languages that come from the language of Rome are called Romance languages, the language of Rome was called Latin, and some romance novels have characters called “Latin lovers,” who usually speak Spanish.
The Goths learned to write after invading the Roman Empire, but they did not write Gothic novels. Gothic novels were a type of novel written during the Romantic period, which followed the neoclassical period, which was influenced by the Roman Empire, which is why styles of the neoclassical period are called Empire. Another style of the neoclassical period is the Regency style, and novels set during this period are called Regency romances. Regency romances never have sex in them.
Other romance novels have sex in them, and they are still called romance novels, unless there is a lot of sex, and then it is called erotica. If it has even more sex in it, and less romance, it is called pornography, unless it is literary fiction, in which case it is just called fiction. Literary fiction is a genre of fiction which is not genre fiction. All the literary fiction that was ever written is called Western literature, and the first Western literature was written by a man named Homer, who was blind. Western literature does not include westerns, which are a genre of fiction set in the American West, and always have cowboys and sometimes have Indians. Americans write westerns, and lately a lot of Indians write novels. Novels written by Indians are always literature.
So, remember, boys and girls, it’s perfectly natural to want to experiment with genres, and it probably won’t make you go blind, or at least not for a very, very long time.