Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sex, Gore, and @!*&%!

**Giveaway! $25 Amazon Gift Certificate** 
The winner is Amy! Thanks to all who commented.

In the mystery genre, there are general classifications that readers assign to books based on their use of violence, sex, and language--just like rating movies. Some readers are comfortable only within the classification that appeals to them and rarely read beyond it. Others, like me, sample from all parts of the buffet table. Let's take a look at these classifications and see if they apply to paranormal books, too.

  • Fluffies. These books drip wholesomeness, except for the fact that someone is murdered. Otherwise, they couldn't be considered murder mysteries at all. But the murder is sanitized and happens off-stage. For example, someone might get a phone call from the police informing them that Aunt Helen is (gasp!) dead. There is not even a hint of foul language and the only blood in the book will be there from the paper cut you got turning the pages. Fluffies are a fairly recent invention, created as a backlash when readers of the next classification of books started noticing language creeping in that made them uncomfortable. Thus, the fluffy was born. Guaranteed no encounters of the sex, violence, and foul-mouthed varieties. G-rated movies.

  • Cozies. Light on all three aspects. These stories frequently take place in small towns, or if not, within an extended family. The emphasis on character development and especially relationships among a group of people are the controlling aspects of the story. Again, the murder usually happens off-stage and the mystery may involve something like keeping family secrets or falsifying the will. PG movies.

  • Traditional. Now we get to mysteries with real meat on their bones, literally. While the murder might or might not still happen off-stage, the reader gets to see the dead body or bodies through the eyes of the lead character. The reader may see other characters in the book killed on-stage besides the initial murder. There may be couples having sex, but in a "fadeout" manner where the door closes or the blankets are pulled up just when things are getting really interesting. No lengthy specific descriptions of what's going on under those blankets. Language has slipped into usage of common curse words, and only the f-word is off limits. Or is it? Some of these books use the f-word in non-sexual ways as a strong expletive or something that is consistent with a particular character's manner of speech. These are generally the amateur sleuth books, where a character outside law enforcement becomes involved in a murder investigation, possibly to prove herself innocent of the murder. PG-13 movies.

  • Hard-boiled. Language, violence, and sex are explicit but according the author's standards, not used for sensationalism. Subject matter such as serial killers, rape, pedophilia, human trafficking, gangs, kinkiness, drugs, the whole range of the human condition--anything goes. Language can be coarse, bloody violence is shown to the reader, and hot sex is usually part of the story. The protagonists are usually people within law enforcement in some capacity, or private investigators--in other words, a small segment of society that fights to keep the rest of us safe. R movies.

  • Splatter books or erotica--Language has no restriction in either of these books. Splatter books detail scenes of bloody violence and torture that amount to wallowing in blood, which is the purpose of the book. Erotica emphasizes explicit, frequent, unusual, whatever, sex to the point that other story elements exist to support the portrayal of sex. X-rated movies or soft porn.
As I mentioned earlier, some mystery readers are loyal to one classification. Some will read only cozies, some hard-boiled readers think cozies are a waste of time and not real mysteries. You get the idea.

What about paranormals? Do you think there are general classifications like this, and if so, do you read multiple types or are you loyal to a single type? Are there any fluffy or cozy paranormals, or does our beloved type of reading kick in at least at the traditional level? If your favorite book or series was made into a movie, what rating would you give it? My Mortal Path series is definitely hard-boiled!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate, so you can indulge your passion for paranormals of whatever type. Shh ... I won't tell. Last chance to enter is Thursday, June 2nd. If you include your email, be sure it's disguised in your post. Let me hear from you!


xoxo,
Dakota

60 comments:

debbie said...

I have my favorite, but I still read them all. That way, I find I don't get bored with any of them.Also, I don't like to stereotype them. Just because I don't like one book or author, I don't want to give up on all the rest.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Jo's Daughter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rain Maiden said...

I love to read books that have a paranormal element to them, but I will dabble in anything. I love to mix it up! YA book, romance, sic-fi, erotic, mystery, throw in some zombies and I'm happy.

Jennie said...

I think most paranormals are at least in the traditional genre. I honestly would read traditional or hard-boiled if I were to read a murder involved story. I like to read about the action, you know? I feel like those fluffies might take away from it. I think most of my favorite books are at least traditional, with some being hard-boiled.

un3xpectedfate[at]hotmail[dot]com

speciesamused said...

"Some readers are comfortable only within the classification that appeals to them and rarely read beyond it. Others, like me, sample from all parts of the buffet table." Me too.....

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

There are definitely different levels of Paranormal books. I don't know if anyone really classifies them as anything, giving them special titles of the level of good or bad in them. I, for one, DO tend to stay with what I am comfortable, completely staying away from anything erotic. I focus on plot, which is the most important element in the book for me.

Thanks for the contest!

kprwrite at hotmail dot com

kara-karina said...

I'm pretty sure I read hard-boiled books. I just like them as realistic as possible. Cozies and fluffies won't interest me whatsoever :)
Thanks for a great contest!
impy80(at)hotmail(dot)com

Vivien said...

I'll read just about anything. There have been too many times, when I thought I couldn't finish a book but ended up loving it. I don't like to stereotype myself, because I feel like I hold myself back. Just about anything paranormal can interest me in some way.
Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Robin K said...

If it is listed as paranormal it attracts my reading eye. The only kind I like less is ghost books. I like things to be "real", so to speak. Not in dreams, not misty figures, but touchable, bleedable real.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Barbara E. said...

I'd say my paranormal tastes run more to the traditional or hard-boiled (movie rating PG-13 or R). I like a lot of action and adventure, with characters that are kicking some serious butt and saving the day. It's hard for me to classify most of the series I love, they're either paranormal or urban fantasy - but I think they'd definitely be rated R. I don't think I've ever run across a fluffy paranormal, but certainly a few have been a little more on the "cozy or traditional" side, those with a lot of humor in them usually.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Nikki said...

I'm a mixed mutt, lol so to speak. I read all kinds of paranormal. Gotta love variety :)

Stormgoddess925@ yahoo. com

Anonymous said...

I love all kinds of paranormal. I do go through periods where I will read only one kind then switch after a couple of months to reading a different kind.

book_lover6983@yahoo.com

~Heather

★Leila @ Within Pages said...

I'm so excited that Dead Until Dark has reached the top of my TBR pile. I bought it earlier this month but I just can't wait to read it and I checked out Living Dead in Dallas from the library to pair with it...and on top of all that I bough DuD along with On this Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost <3 love.

withinpages @ hotmail dot com

Casey H said...

I like to read all kinds of books, but I'm finding more and more of my favorites are falling under the splatter ;)

c4casey(at)comcast(dot)net

night owl in IL said...

Hi Dakota,
I'm not sure that PNR books have a similar classification system (at least, not that I'm aware of). I know that there are all types of PNR books, but no way for readers to tell them apart other than by reading the synopsis &/or reviews.

If my favorite book &/or series was made into a movie, it would be rated R (maybe even X).

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}
borg_66@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I like fluffies, but that's cause I'm a girl, xD

It would be awesome if I won. <3

peachandblue2@aol.com

Jonathan_Sicari said...

I think I generally read Hard Boiled, probably because I come from reading that type of mystery novel.

DANIELA said...

Hi
I never thought to label the PNR books and as long as the plot is well developed I'll read the book.

Daniela.
dany7578@hotmail.com

Michele said...

I read everything; it kind of goes in cycles. Right now I'm reading alot of historical novels. Then I'll feel like reading nothing but mysteries, or YA, or... I really do read all genres.
Michele
rlawrence110 at yahoo dot com

Sara M said...

I'm purely a paranormal reader, and I've come across all of these classifications except for the fluffies. I can't really imagine a novel involving vampires ever being able to be a fluffy with the whole drinking blood thing. I tend to like the grittier traditional to hard-boiled though.

Sara M
sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Ill read anything that has a good blurb but I mainly read Paranormal Romance like immortals after dark by kresley cole and YA like the mortal instruments by cassandra clare i wouldn't know how to classify it in genres but like you said i sample from all parts of the buffet table

lgmorales18@gmail.com

Jessica said...

I'm a paranormal only gal! I can't handle "contemporary" books, my sister reads those and I can't quite understand why, and she can't understand why I read paranormals where nothing is quite "real". Which is precisely why I read them, I love me some good supernatural characters!

jessbess2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sapphyria said...

I think Paranormals could be similarly classified as noted above. Young Adult books generally are PG or PG-13. I'm sure I've read any that could be considered Fluffy but they could be out there.
On that note: I used to be pretty prudish and Fluffies where all I could even consider. Now...not so much...I love everything from Fluffy to Hard-Boiled. Not quite sure about Splatter but that's because I haven't come across anything like that...yet.

Saph
saphsbookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

I read a lot of different types of books including Christian fiction, paranormal fiction, suspense etc. so anything goes for me up to traditional. Anything with a boat load of cursing and sexual content isn't really my thing. I haven't really read any paranormal fiction that's not YA other than Merrie Destefano's, Afterlife, but that's just because YA fiction these days usually has enough action and adventure to suit me. :-)

XOXO~ Renee C.
steelergirl83atgmaildotcom

donnas said...

If its paranormal I read across all. Totally depending on my mood. If they were turned into a movie though Im pretty sure it would be a strong PG-13 if not R. Except for the YA I throw in too, which would probably be on the regular PG-13 level.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Cylver said...

I'd say my reading preferences are probably somewhere in the middle of the spectrum: I'd get bored really fast reading only Fluffies and Cozies, and Splatter would probably turn me off of the subject all together.

Maria said...

I pretty much read everything from sweet to hard core but I don't do horror type books - i don't mind violence and love lots of action, which is partly why I'm drawn to PNR because there always seems to be a lot going on in the stories..lol

maria63303(at)gmail(dot)com

Stephanie said...

I love paranormal romance books. I also find that I can find books that are somewhat similar in urban fantasy books. The action, the development between the relationships of the characters, and the paranormal worlds are the things that draw me into the paranormal romance genre. Thanks for the giveaway.

smccar1 at hotmail dot com

Amanda Arista said...

Hello all, I think after reading this post,my debut novel would probably fall under the fluffy/cozy category of paranormal romance. As much as i love our genre, I found that i couldn't recommend them to my mother to read because some intimate scenes made me blush.

Sheree said...

I think I stick to the traditional most - I may swing one direction or the other, but eventually I settle in the middle. Or read a historical romance instead. I'm fairly omnivorous that way.

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

Katie Dalton said...

My paranormal has to have vamps for me to really get into it. Not that I don't enjoy it all, but bite my neck I love me some vamps! And butt kicking women who don't take crap from men. ;)

k28dalton (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sue S. said...

I like a good mystery novel. I'm not much of a paranormal reader, my daughter is. Occasionally I'll read one. But for the most part I love mysteries! I like the suspense and trying to figure out the "who-done-it?".

sstewart2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sharon said...

I like Cozies, traditionals and hardboileds. As long as I like the characters it doesn't matter. I tend towards the dark side which means hardboiled most of the time, but I love a funny romantic story you get with the cozies.

I don't care for erotica and fluffies just don't have enough action for me.

StacieDM said...

I'm not really into the fluffy or cozy types of mysteries. I tend to lean toward the hard-boiled variety. I prefer the grittier stories in all types of genres. Interesting question!

user1123 AT comcast DOT net

SdyLion said...

So, I read it all and appreciate it all: cozies, traditional, hard-boiled, and splatter. I read mostly paranormal romance and urban fantasy with an occasional criminal suspense or thriller. Once in awhile I will pick up a plain romance book, but usually miss the spice of the paranormal books. What makes the books is the author talents not the level of violence or sex, its how the author writes the scene or portrays the characters. I love all the series that I follow because the authors I choose are very talented in the worlds they have created. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

Onge said...

I definitely think there are all these types in paranormal. I like to mix it up a little. I'm not that big a fan of the f-word or explicit sex but I will read it occasionally if the book is amazing. Thanks for the giveaway!
chickenherder[at]hotmail[dot]com

Cathy M said...

I read more paranormal romances than any other genre, and love the variety. Even ventured into the Urban Fantasy storylines, and am always amazed at the level of the author's imagination.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Chelsea B. said...

I do read a whole bunch of different levels of paranormals. But I think they would probably all have to be rated R for sexual content, haha ;-)

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I am consistently inconsistent, so I'd say I love all kinds as long as it is well written.

books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

Julie S said...

I love paranormal and urban fantasy. Fun stuff :)

juliecookies(at)gmai.com

DarkBloodyVamp said...

I love paranormal romance books that would be classified as either hard-boiled or erotica.

Thanks for this giveaway!

redfirewood888(AT)yahoo(DOT)ca

Ashleigh said...

I think these classifications definitely exist in paranormals, but I think the sex part of it isn't as white-washed. Even in the fluffies, you're going to get some bedroom scenes that are more than a fade to black.

shimi714@yahoo.com

Carrie S. said...

I like to read contemporary fiction. I like a little bit of that real life factor in the novels, it's comforting.

I also enjoy the occasional vampire novel as well! My guilty pleasure!

stewart[dot]carrie94[at]yahoo[dot]com

Anonymous said...

I read many different genres. I do think Paranormal has categories similiar to what is described. I am NOT loyal to just one type. It depends on my mood, I do lean toward the heavier style...not so much light.
Thanks for the giveaway.
lisa gk at yahoo dot com

Amy said...

I like all kinds of paranormals. I like darker ones and the lighter, funny ones such as Kerrelyn Sparks. I like to mix it up so I don't get bored of one type.

angeldream3[AT]gmail[DOT]com

meggerfly said...

I'm definitely a Hard Boiled or higher reader for the majority of books that I read. I read traditional PNR's as well. I've read one cozie level PNR and could have left it. It just didn't work for me.

rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

thatoneindiecindie said...

It completely depends on my mood. Which is why I buy dozens of books at once so I have a variety to choose from for my next read. I don't have a favorite. I love gore, sex is fun to read about, but sometimes you need to take it back a notch if you've read too much horror/explicit violence in a row.

buffysfx@gmail.com

Thanks for the giveaway and I can't wait to get my hands on your book!

throuthehaze said...

I do think paranormals have similar classifications. I like traditional, hard-boiled, and cozies.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

SandyG265 said...

I think that there are different levels of paranormals. They range all the way from paranormal romances to blood and gore.

sgiden at verizon.net

Jess said...

It doesn't matter to me as long as the story is well wriiten I don't care what language is used. Thanks for the giveaway!

jcross719 at yahoo dot com

CrystalGB said...

I am a big fan of paranormals. There isn't any that I avoid. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

Bella said...

Oh, I definitely think there are these types of classifications in the paranormal genre. I steer clear of fluffy books, since they just grate on my nerves for some reason (I guess I like my paranormals dark! *shrug*), but I've noticed that Paranormal Romances are usually much lighter (since Happily Ever Afters are pretty much guaranteed), whereas the darkest paranormals aren't afraid to go all the way ... with sex, language, the killing off of characters, etc. I don't read mysteries, but can't understand why some are referred to as "cozies", because that is just an incredibly off-putting word, lol. It makes me think of - I don't know - grannies?! :P

bella-on-toast [at] hotmail [dot] com

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Michelle Marcos said...

I'm not prudish about language, even in books like historicals. However, I think the sparser the foul language, the more impact it has when you finally use it. If there are characters that curse every third word (their mannerisms may dictate this), when you have a character who never swears and finally does, readers may not notice. The movie Silence of the Lambs just flashed in my head. Hannibal Lecter used the f-bomb only once. And it was yet another shock in an already incredibly suspenseful movie with very little foul language.

Dina said...

I like all kinds of paranormal stories, they are all interesting.

I'd like movies to be pg-13 at least, my grandson also likes paranormal movies.

Dina

dlsmilad (at) yahoo (dot) com

Cate said...

I love to read paranormal romance and urban fantasy that are hard boiled. Especially like lead females that can kick ass! And not a damsel in distress type.

lipsofanangel said...

I'll read just about anything, but my favorite type are supernatural horrors and supernatural mysteries, like classic scary stories and legends. That's also the way I like my movies-to be scary and filled with supernatural element. Sex and profanity don't bother as long as the swearing is not so excessive it feels "forced" into the story or script. I guess I apply to a little of each stereotype on here. I'm not really into Sci-Fi types except for a select few books and movies. I'm the type of person that generally likes all different types of books and movies, all genres. It all depends on how the story is written.

my email is j_roberson2005@hotmail.com

j _ roberson 2005 at hotmail dot com

heatwave16 said...

I enjoy some fluff from time to time, but my favorite is the hard boiled. I just Love the intensity of it all.

heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

Birgit said...

Love how you divided the mystery genres not only by name but also by photo :-D the one with the egg-pic cracked me up ... like the egg, come to think of it *lol*!
Personally I like them all, well maybe except for the splatter, but cozies and traditional mysteries are just my kind of thing.
As I'm not reading that many paranormal books I don't know whether you can devide the genre like this too, but my guess is YES.

danaan at gmx dot at

P.S.: I know the giveaway is over, but I just had to comment because I really like the post!