September 26, 2012

Writing Club Wednesdays - Respect the Fluff!

Happy Wednesday Misfiteers!

So those of you who follow us in the Twitterverse might have noticed a bit of a trend happening. For those of you who don't, here's a little hint:

What does "Respect the Fluff" mean, you ask? (Because no, being incredibly hot is not the trend. Though they *are* lovely.)

Well, if you're a reader or writer (or rabid fan) of contemporary romance, you've probably heard it referred to as fluff. Being all of the above, I can't help but get a little fired up at the dismissal.

After all, what's wrong with reading or writing something that makes you feel good?

In fact, I am so passionate about this topic, I put together a little vlog to argue my point. Check it out!

In summary, "Fluff" implies that romance has no substance. And okay, maybe it'll never make you the reigning champ at Trivial Pursuit, but there's a reason people like me (and my CP's) flock to it. Much like its tasty white namesake, IT'S DELICIOUS. And writing it - not just writing it, but capturing the emotion behind it and writing it WELL - takes a lot of skill.

Your turn, guys. Are you a fluff respecter? If so, I'd love to hear what you like about romance, and what your current favorites are, as well as what you'd love to see more (and less) of in contemporary romance.

One lucky commenter will win their very own Respect the Fluff shirt, so be sure to chime in! (And yes, guys, the shirt comes in men's styles/sizes, so don't be shy!)


Gina said...

There's a lot of great "fluff" romances out there.

There are a LOOOOOOOOOOT of terrible "fluff" romances.

And the fact that there are terrible ones just goes to prove how amazing the good ones are. Stephanie Perkins deserves so much credit for crafting stories the way she does, especially when you compare her with someone like Betty Neals (who was probably a very sweet lady... but her books are lame).

Well-written fluff is still well-written and deserves just as much attention as the "real" literature out there.

Jennifer Malone said...

I just finished Epic Fail by Claire LaZebruk and I LOVED it. (Well written) fluff is FUN!! Psst..reading should be FUN!

I like to equate these books to the popcorn movie. WIll our lives be changed by them? Possibly not. Will our lives be enriched by spending a few hours with a permagrin plastered on our face? Hell, yes.

Anonymous said...

I've said it a million times before, but I love love. I love the way those early sparks feel when you're falling for someone, the way your stomach gets those cliche butterflies, the way that person just makes your heart so happy and full. In turn, I adore both reading and writing about it.

The Notebook will always be a favorite of mine, simply because it's such a real kind of love. They argue with passion, and they love with even more. Does that make any sense at all? The "I love you and everything is puppies and rainbows" kind of stories get under my skin a little. Sure, being in love is great, but there are ups and downs. There need to be more of the realistic stories.

I see what you mean about the term fluff, but I actually kind of like it. To me, fluff coincides with something happy and sweet - just like a good romance. :)

Samantha said...

Hello Gina!
I'm glad you and the other Misfits agree that there is nothing wrong with "fluff" when it is written well. For the longest time I felt that I had to keep my contemporary romance love a secret; often referring to it as my guilty pleasure. A lot of this guilt spawned around the time Twilight became uber popular and everyone assumed every "fluff" story was about an uninteresting, normal girl unrealistically garnering the attention of every male in town, to which a showdown at midnight would be held for her hand in marriage and baby-making (I should add, there is nothing wrong with that kind of story, except assuming all romance stories are like that).
Finally I got over the not-so-educated assumptions of said nay-sayers and stood up for the "fluff". I recommended "fluff" to friends and colleagues that asked what I was reading or what I suggested. And I did so because contemporary romance isn't about ignoring all other aspects of life and focusing on silly crushes (as the nay-sayers would argue), it's about highlighting the moments in our lives when we first fall in love, get rejected, and/or start to see ourselves as other people see us and make the decision of who we want to be in life (like you said in your Vlog).
That is all. Rant over... and I definitely Respect The Fluff!!!

Sarah Negovetich said...

I was never a big romance fan until I took on an editing job for a romance trilogy. You can count me a fan now. After working with the author I got to see not only how much she cared about creating a book that people wouldn't think of as fluff, but how hard she worked. And the end result is a great read.

Dizzyhappymama said...

"Fluff" takes you away from the everyday. Away from the dirty diapers, the sink FULL of dishes, the whiny kids. You can lie in your cluttered bedroom, surrounded by kids and unfolded laundry and be swept away into a place where none of that matters. A first kiss, a chance encounter, a steamy love scene; that makes this mama's day more tolerable :)

Darci Cole said...


Just because it's not life-changing doesn't mean it's not fun to read! A good romance always makes me happy. They're usually quick and easy to read, and a lot more relaxing than some of the heavier stuff out there. Like you said, as long as it's written well it deserves respect!

I'm totally with you on this.
Respect the fluff, people.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

This is an argument I've had several times with one specific person (not to be named). He says there's no point to reading anything but what I will call Fancypants Litacher. I have tried to convince him of the wrongness of his ways, with no success. So that means MORE FLUFF FOR ME! I love reading something that pulls me out of my own life for a little while, something that's the equivalent of eating a chocolate truffle: No actual nutritional value, but quite possibly the best tasting thing on Earth. Hooray for fluff!

Anonymous said...

Just fluffed it up massively during a week away. Five brilliant books all loaded with the fluff. What's not to love about holding hands, kissing and (in some cases) doing a horizontal tango. The best fluff book I've read this month has to be Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols. So much respect for the fluff :)

Megan said...

Last year when I met my local Nano group for the first time, a few of us were sitting around excitedly telling each other what we were gonna write for Nano. A lot of them knew each other, but I was The New Girl. Then someone asked, "So Megan, wht are you gonna write?" and I proceeded to tell them all about my plans for a YA romance (now known as Room For Two).

YOU GUYS. You'd think I'd said I was gonna write Twilight fanfiction. Nobody spoke. They all exchanged looks. And I was so confused! It was the first time I'd ever encountered that kind of thinking.

Different books for different readers. Why be all rude about any of them? And doing FLUFF correctly takes skill. Anyone who can write it well deserves mad respect.

AngiNicole said...

I love love. And I love writing love. And kisses. And...other things. Everything I write has some form of romance in it and even holds that word in genre title, but it is far from fluff. And as far as that goes, most of my favorite books have or are romance too.
Writing romance is something you have to do well, just like any other genre out there. I'm not sure how it got this rep, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon.
I would love this t-shirt to wear proudly when I am out and about writing my next piece of non-fluff romance.
I'm sure there's a #TWSS joke in here about being respectful of the fluff...

Anonymous said...

I've come across some terrible fluff but at the same time there is loads of great books out there that make fluff AWESOME!

<3 shirt!

Adrianne Russell said...

Loving romance books in all their forms has long been a dirty little secret. I've never been ashamed to admit it and when I tell people my YA fiction has a lot of romance elements they get all excited and swoony, then lower their voices and say something like, "But I normally don't read that stuff," which I know is a COMPLETE lie! LOL Cheers to you for proudly showing your love & respect for romance!

Kelley Harvey said...

I SOOOO need a "Respect the Fluff" shirt. I read fluff, I write fluff. Hell, I LIVE for FLUFF! I've been a Fluff Fan since seventh grade when the librarian at school handed me my first Barbara Cartland novel... since then the Fluff has expanded, like all REALLY good things do, and now some of my Fluff gets lovingly called *cough* Sweaty Thigh Novels *cough* *smile*.

Feaky Snucker said...

I see so many patrons at the library embarrassed about reading Contem Rom, and I immediately correct them. It isn't anything to be embarrassed about. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is make them forget how crappy their life has been going. Giving them a light read to take them away from reality for a couple hours.

It's not FLUFF. It's MAGIC! REAL magic. I will use and abuse my librarian powers to recommend books that make people feel HAPPY. THAT is what literature is supposed to do!

Some of my favourites to recommend, are:

'Can you keep a secret?' By Sophie Kinsella
And an extremely under-read woman, named Caprice Crane. Her first, 'Stupid and Contagious' STILL rocks my socks, and I recommend the shit out of it.
Gemma Townley is also a fave - Check out 'Learning Curves,' 'Little WHite lies,' or 'When in Rome.'

Check them out - you will NOT be sorry. 'Can you keep a secret' is bright pink FFS! Read them loud, read them proud and defend the fluff!

It's high time we removed the 'Guilty' from Guilty Pleasures!

Who's with me?!

erica m. chapman said...

I LOVE contemporary romance and I love your vlog, Gina!! I really love those moments when the MC figures out that the guy she likes likes her back. There's something so pure about it, so innocent. And if you add in other factors it really becomes something you can even learn more about your own emotions with.

Contemporary romance is one of my favorite genres. Th angst, the push and pull, the kisses. I LOVE IT ALL!! Bring it on.

Great post. And what beautiful models you have <3<3

Hwa Sun Kang said...

I love reading "fluff" because it's awesome (and it's fun word to say!) but I hate how some people automatically think that fluff is a bad thing, and that it's not "serious" enough.

Veronica Bartles said...

I love a good "fluff" book!! When I can escape the sad moments in a well-written happy-ending kind of book that doesn't make me strain my brain trying to understand it... It's an instant way to turn a bad day into a good one :)

Dahlia Adler said...

I am a huuuuge fluff respecter, obviously, but one thing I think so often gets overlooked are that these books are almost never really fluff. Like, how many contemporary romances don't have some sort of deeper issue at heart somewhere? Almost every one I can think of also has subplots about serious issues dealing with parents' acceptance, friend's/parent's illness, major self-esteem issues... frankly, I think the "fluff" is the closest representation to actual teen lives of all the YA out there - mostly normal, unremarkable lives with major ups and downs - and there's something huge to be said for that!

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