Saturday, April 5, 2008

Out of Genre Readers

My "large" writing group has people with varied interests; many enjoy poetry, for instance. With so many members, we can only contribute a limited amount to be critiqued. I contributed the first 2.5 pages of my fantasy novel.

In these few word Riva Tanner falls out of a tree, dies, and goes to "the spirit world." Her dad, a priest of Jared, pulls her back into their own world--resurrecting her. Riva overhears a conversation in which her dad tells her mom that he should not have pulled her back from his God's realm--that Riva should not be here with them. They now have to "give her back."

I could spot the group members who are not accustomed to reading fantasy. The fact that Riva's dad is a priest who wears a sword said "cult" to the non-fantasy readers. The fact that people in the fantasy world worship a God that the readers never heard of amplified the "cult" interpretation. And the fact that for some reason they must give Riva back says, "evil cult." These readers did not have a problem with the evil cult story--some liked it. But they saw what happened as unjust.

My view of the morality of what happened in those first 2.5 pages is that the story's events are in harmony with Greek, Norse, and most other pantheistic mythologies. Even "good" gods insist that a natural order be followed--like, the dead stay dead. When the natural order is not followed, there is a price to pay. That is justice.

The readers in my group are educated, avid readers. But readers who are not familiar with the genre will view a story differently than readers who are.

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