Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover
As literary grad students who have learned to be snobby about literature, to look down on this and praise that, it can be a good exercise for us to feel a little humility. The genre novel we read was undeniably a page-turner; most of us admitted that we read quickly and eagerly, staying up late to keep reading. When plot twists are handed expertly, there is an undeniable skill there that shouldn't be scoffed at.
Learn About Plot from the Plot Experts
That brings me to my second point: the best writing these days can often be paired with some of the weakest senses of plot structure. Modern literary writers sometimes seem embarrassed by the idea of plot and do everything they can to avoid them entirely. The best fiction, though, includes a seamless blend of beautiful writing and gripping plot. So we should study plot from the people who still use it regularly in their novels.
Save Time by Relying on Conventions
Not every part of your story has to be entirely original and stunningly complex. In fact, it can be exhausting for readers to have to find something new and challenging on every page. Instead, genre novel writers use conventions and rules to move quickly from one step to the next, enabling us to use our own expectations to fill gaps. To quickly win sympathy for a character, a genre novel will give us an ailing parent he's caring for, or show a few quick notes on the love of his life. To make a character seem suspicious, give him a background with drugs or a gun in a locked cabinet in his house. These things follow rules, and when the rules are followed, we feel satisfied as readers.