That was the productive part of my day. The rest was spent gnashing my teeth after an infuriating conversation with a person-who-shall-remain-nameless (she doesn't read this blog, but I'm paranoid) who, after having a shufty at my First Chapter - which I'd let her read in good faith while at the same time knowing I was making a mistake - said to me, with a faux-friendly grin, "and I thought you were an intelligent woman!" It was all downhill from there, really.
Hating the fact that I still go red at my age, I asked her what she meant. The gist of her concern was that I was writing for silly, young women. Because I write book reviews and have a wide reading range, she'd assumed I'd be doing something more "grown-up." But I am, I said. What is your story about then? she asked. The usual stuff, I said. Love, friendship, family and, in this case, community spirit. Why then, she wondered, was I presenting it as a silly love story? Was I dumbing down?
I didn't know what to say, to be honest. I always think of clever put-downs later. I mumbled something about being more comfortable writing commercial fiction, but it sounded horribly like making excuses. She said she wasn't being rude (!), and there was "nothing wrong" with what I'd written, but she was just "surprised." That's all. It fair took the wind out of my sails, I can tell you.
I have written in a more literary style before, in short story form (she says, defensively) and I've got a psycho-thriller all plotted out and everyfink, but somehow I'm drawn to writing romantic-comedy-drama...oh ok, I suppose it's chicklit, but that doesn't mean I'm Stupid..