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The Lester Dent thing got some notice recently, & slithytove noted:

1) it mentions character almost not at all; 2) it emphasizes plot twists, which I rarely hear talked about.

Interesting. Because plot, I thought, was more important to genre writers than mainstream writers. I mean, just anecdotally. Just going from what you hear discussed when writers and critics talk writing.

There’s a line in a movie someplace where someone is asked who their favourite author is, & they reply,

“Jane Austen. I like an author you can depend on.”

To me, that always sounded like ‘I like an author you can predict’. Which — further — summed up a lot of mainstream writing for me at the time. Prose and setting were meaningful & appreciated by mainstreamers (which is why you got lyrical love stories set in Tuscany/Provence/California, or so I imagined), but what passed for plot was just a way to get from one locale to another. There were no surprises, no pay-offs, and no stretches for the imagination. I mean, if I were to generalise completely, of course. Which, indeed, I tend to do with great relish.

Genre, I decided, tried to take an actual journey with its plots.

Genre was for travellers, whereas non-genre was for tourists.

Heh. (Yeah, eat that, Austen. :)

But now I hear that plot twists have apparently become neglected. Is it because modern audiences — particularly genre audiences — are difficult to out-twist, given their level of sophistication? Have we consequently given up on the plot twist?

And if so, what are the implications of that?

And for god’s sake, nobody say ‘a return to the golden age of science fiction’.