So, I’ve been thinking and talking about genre. That led me to this post where I’m going to ask a few questions and answer then. Other authors or readers can join in the fun within the comments or on their own blog. Maybe we can turn this into an optional chain post where nobody is tagged. Totally volunteer, but I’m curious about people’s opinions:
- What made you choose the genre that you write in? If not working within a genre, why did you go that route?
- What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of working within a genre?
- Do you think genres crossover a lot more often than we realize?
- Would you try another genre or are you locked into your area as a specialist? Do you believe this hurts you as an author?
- Would you write within a genre that you don’t like, but is currently popular in order to get your foot in the door of the business?
- I always loved fantasy, so I naturally gravitated toward that when I set out to become an author. Something about having swords and magic instead of lasers and advanced technology appealed to me. Maybe because I think a fantasy author has more control over the rules of their world than someone who works in one that includes Earth and real world physics.
- The strength of working within a genre is that you have some guidelines to work with and previous authors to be ‘compared’ to. Though, the comparison is a double-edged sword because it can be how you don’t match up to it. That’s what I think is the biggest weakness of genre writing. Everyone involved has their own preconceived notions about what should and should not be included in a genre book. Many also have cliches that they rail against while other readers are okay with them. It really amplifies the ‘you can’t please everyone’ factor.
- Yes. Genres crossover a lot, but you can typically figure out the main genre. For example, romance seems to be everywhere in literature. Yet, it isn’t always the main genre. It can be a fantasy book with a romance subplot or a fantasy book with horror elements. There really are hazy borders between genres.
- I’ve tried other genres, but I might end up being a fantasy specialist. It’s where I feel more comfortable and I think I’m skilled at it. As for hurting me as an author, I think it depends on the aspects of other genres that I pull it. I can fall into the trap of being a one-trick pony, so I have to find ways to expand my repertoire while remaining within my comfort zone. I still want wander out to other genres to test myself if a suitable story comes to mind.
- This last question has been thrown my way for years. Personally, I don’t have it in me to write a story simply to jump on a bandwagon. I was told to write vampire romance when Twilight was big, Halo books when that was hot, and Warhammer books when a friend got into those. My concern is that I kick off my career in these areas and trap myself in them. I gather an audience who loves those types of stories, but it doesn’t mean they’ll follow me to what I really want to do. I’m writing for fun, entertaining others, and to create a legacy. That makes me feel like I have to stay the course.
So, who wants a go at these questions? You can answer in the comments or on your own blog.