Thursday, January 17, 2013

Genre Writing

There is something that has always confused me about being a writer. In my interactions with fellow writers and with my reading of countless authors, I have found that usually a single author sticks to a single genre. There are writers of romance, writers of literary fiction, writers of horrors and thrillers, writers of science fiction, and, the most infamous of all, writers of fantasy. What happens to a guy like me who has written books that fall under every single one of those categories?

I feel like an abandoned child as I make my way through writing groups and online forums. How are these people able to remain in one genre? Is there something wrong with me? Do I suffer from some strange form of genre ADD? Or is it something different?

It is always a strange experience to have people ask what kind of books I write. To answer this question usually takes more time for me than the usual writer. But I also think it is strange to ask another writer what they write and have an immediate response. Not only will the response be immediate, but sometimes the answer is super specific, such as “fan-fictions dealing with the world in such-a-such anime world.” How can the mind be so limited and so drawn in?

Now I think I should admit that I feel I have finally come to rest in a single genre for the most part: literary fiction. But I do not intend to keep all of my future efforts attached to this single genre. There is a particularly intriguing fantasy that I have sitting in my “unfinished” folder that I would really like to put together one day. I also wrote a thriller just last year and the other book I wrote last year is half romance. Science has always been a major part of my life so I’d like to try my hand at a science fiction at one point. Does all of this mean that there is something wrong with me?

I would like to propose something, and I know that this might irk half of the writing world, but I think not being able to write within a single genre is actually an indicator of an open mind and a powerful mind. Just as when we hold certain prejudices in the world and we are considered closed minded I think the same applies when we are incapable to write in forms outside of the initial genre we tried. Embrace the strange and the different. Push your limits. I plan on taking up my own challenge this year and finishing that fantasy. It will take more work and more planning then I have put into a single novel for a while, but it will stretch me, it will make my brain muscles sore, and I am a great proponent of the phrase “no pain, no gain.”

I encourage my fellow writers to join me in this challenge. And I say to you, “happy writing.”

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