The sub-genre, Literary – Role Playing Game or has some have shorted its name to “LitRPG” is quickly becoming a standalone genre itself, gaining quick traction throughout writing circles. I will say as a disclaimer I am biased when it comes to this topic, as you can see here and there, that I’ve written most of my reviews for LitRPG titled or subjected books. This rapid growth is LitRPG has been and will continue to be a double-edged sword within itself. On one side, the genre is growing leaps and bounds beyond its first baby steps. This leads credit to its solid foundations, loyal readers and of course authors, strengthening it’s core daily.
This is the good side of LitRPG, its shining star I’m begging you. The audience (readers), as well as authors aren’t just playing their parts, they’re fans of the genre and for great reasoning too. I label readers as audience members because LitRPG novels are like plays being acted out in my opinion. They aren’t just words written together and throw in stores or amazon, etc for your enjoyment. The characters have a cerebral tether to them, they pull, push, break and reform, all within the same chapter at times. Now, lets slow down for a moment, you might be thinking “aren’t you glorifying this genre just a bit?” In all honesty, yes. There is two reasons for this, the first is because this is a brand new branch off of fantasy that is almost universally relate-able. The second reasons is the writing. The writing is something that goes beyond the genre and delves deep into the psyche of the characters in some points of the story or sometimes even throughout the entire plot.
This brings me to the slightly bad-ish, or rather complex side of LitRPG. Since this genre is newly minted, and quite in its infancy, the “rules” or guidelines are loosely observed in some cases. This creates a kind of problem for most people within the genre, authors, readers, and reviewers a like. Lets start with the authors perspective, if a novel is penned with just LitRPG guidelines in mind and author is writing strictly based on that for fear of public backlash, 100% of the time the book will take the punishment. This puts the author in a strange predicament, so bow down to the masses and potentially damage the book or be true to him or herself and follow the path they’ve set for themselves. It take a special person to throw away both paths and generate a middle ground to travel, but it has been done in the past and will continue to do so.
Next is the reviewer, which of course is also a reader, but let’s leave that section for last. The reviewer is the influencing party and counter-part of the author in main cases. Notice I’ve said influencing party, not puppet, it isn’t the reviewer’s job to do whatever the author says nor throw unbalanced reviews out in either a negative or positive light. The job of a reviewer spans deeper than the name suggests. When there is a following, there is an amount of responsibility placed on their shoulders and should be taken as seriously as possible in a professional way. I’m not saying go out there and leave the personality at home, but when reviewing take all avenues into account, not just your own opinion. The following reviewers gain should be taken into account when doing a review, I’m not saying that your opinion should be placated based on your audience, because then we go back to the author situation, but your opinion should also come with a dose of humility in the sense of suggestion, in the sense of just because the book isn’t for you, doesn’t mean others might not like it.
On one hand, if books reviewed aren’t truly targeted at the genre, then by all means make it known, but be sure to take the actual book into account. Loving this genre isn’t a witch hunt, its a development process and should be treated as such. Those with followings, either big or small need to be mindful that their followers might be new to the genre and follow their words and suggestions very carefully. This brings me to our last and most important section, the readers. These readers haven’t delve themselves deep enough to garner enough of an opinion for themselves in some cases. I’m not dismissing intelligence just making it known that some book genres are honestly unknown, so people naturally gravitate towards those who’ve had experience and are respected. However, I’ve said before mob mentality is a strong compulsion and is quite dangerous. This is the three part cycle, a budding genre goes through and each part of fundamental to its growth and success through time. I have been blessed to be a reader and reviewer, and have just heard the ideas, thoughts, and emotions of authors, but once again these points are the causes and effects of opinion. Of course that’s just my opinion, whats yours?