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Is there a genre you would never try to write? Why?
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Some genres aren’t a good fit for specific authors. That’s the truth of the matter. Genre crossing, however, should be something authors indulge. Why stay bound by convention? Testing the waters of new ideas is what often makes for great story telling. That doesn’t mean that every author should try any genre they set their sights upon.
Genre is a literary analysis concept. Some people don’t even believe it in it. That’s okay, because believing in it doesn’t matter to theory study. In the mainstream, it pretty much makes for a clearer way in which to organize a library or bookstore.
Many readers like the idea of genre, because it helps them to know what is contained in your work–a means to knowing if your work will appeal to them. Genre attempts to define what conventions an author followed for executing their work. Thus, it fits a specific overarching theme, such as: science fiction, fantasy, historical, romance, literary, women’s literature, etc. Each of these has subgenres. Subgenres are often where your book crosses over into other topics. An example of this is: military science fiction, or dark fantasy paranormal. It’s a list of expectations met (assumed by the would-be reader) by the author–it will be set in space and focused on military topics.
Nothing in the world stops a writer from mixing genres up or not meeting expectations. Nothing. (See the quote image below for why this is an important distinction to make.)
Readers will make up their mind independent of the existence of a book’s author. Their opinions, however, will affect the success of a title. And, readers talk to each other. This is why some in the field suggest you take it really carefully when you want to mix things up. Readers can be very sure about what they like. If you don’t have the skill or experience, you could be setting up for failure. Then again, even if you do, you stand a good chance at failing. It’s a gamble.
This said, would I never write in a particular genre? Never say never. I said I would focus on historical fiction instead of attempting fantasy, because I felt I had no more to add to the genre. Yet, here we are, 3 books in. I’ve matched with 3 historical works (the first two I ever published being in this genre). Each of my works tends to reach into other subsets, such as military and women’s issues. I’ve worked with the details that make a book a thriller, and I’ve molded them into my series as well. You could argue that my stories are romantic. Yet, historical and fantasy remain the overarching realms in which I write. This is because, I believe in sticking to my lane: write what you know.
There is a lot more for me to learn about science fiction, and I take it seriously because the fan base takes it so seriously. As a fan, I understand the necessity of respecting them. Does this mean I would learn and gain confidence but never attempt something that redraws the lines a little? Absolutely not. If my canon hasn’t already displayed my desire to push the boundaries, I don’t know why I’m here. After all, I don’t believe in rehashing works already well-done by other authors.
Never say never. As I grow in my field and my life, texts will take on different meanings. I’ll spawn new tales. I cannot say with certainty that those ideas will be in line with what I have already done.
A solid example of this is in my screenwriting. I have adapted my historical novels and the first part of the trilogy (which was written prior to the books in 2006), but I have also written a romantic comedy. Comedy is so hard to write, but I did always love the Meg Ryan-type films as a teen. It is unsurprising to me that I had this story in me, then. It will be unsurprising to me when another anomaly shows up in the future.
Will I write 8 Days in Ireland as a book? I never planned to write The Trailokya Trilogy as more than scripts. It might be worth my time to do so at some point, and revisit that story to see what fires it lights in my mind.
After I’ve written all this, I can be certain I will never write non-fiction computer books. But I cannot write off anything in the fiction realm.
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