Genre Writing: My Questions and Answers

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Charles Yallowitz at Legends of Windemere made a great post today concerning genre writing and asks some interesting popular questions. I took up his challenge to explore these questions with this post and encourage you to do the same. Pay Charles a visit and get the list of questions.

1. What made you choose the genre that you write in?  If not working within a genre, why did you go that route?

I don’t think with my first book that I chose a genre, the genre chose me. I was simply writing a story and where it fit was not a concern.

2. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of working within a genre?

Strengths: Practice makes perfect. Writing, writing, and writing in the same scope is bound to help an author hone their craft. Having a specific genre aids marketing for sure…you know exactly where your work fits and have a pretty good idea where to find your audience and who they are.

Weaknesses:  Creativity. Genre reading and writing can become mundane and too predictable. I read a crossover of many genres and can’t understand how some readers can stay so genre dedicated, for example to romance, or historical fiction, or reading only crime novels/thrillers. I like expanding my knowledge base and testing my comprehension. It is part of the perpetual student in me.

3. Do you think genres crossover a lot more often than we realize?

Traditionally, no. Most recently, say in the past five years, yes. I think breaking away from traditional publishing control has helped that. Some don’t think it is a good thing, but I feel it is fantastic for broadening horizons, thinking outside the box, creative expression…that sort of thing.

4. Would you try another genre or are you locked into your area as a specialist?  Do you believe this hurts you as an author?

As a reader, yes! I love exploring other genre. As a writer, I tried, and though some readers thought I was successful, I did not feel it. It was uncomfortable to my linear stream of consciousness writing style and required more plotting and outlining than I like to do. I don’t think it hurts you as an author to try other styles of genre writing, if anything, it contributes to developing other talent.

5. 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?

Again, I tried. My work is literary and historical. The crime novel was/is an adventure. I would like to go back to it at some point and see if I can accomplish it. My husband loved it but, to me, it seemed shallow and superficial. I like my work to have a deeper moral or historical value.

I write for fun and making a profit is not my goal. My focus has been on presenting evidences, stimulating thinking and introspection through fiction and letting the reader make up their own mind about issues presented. More informative than entertaining in that these are real life situations not reality escapes…yet, they are presented in a creatively imagined world with creatively developed characters.

19 thoughts on “Genre Writing: My Questions and Answers

  1. My mom has been reading mystery and crime books since I was a kid. She loves them and rarely wanders outside of the genre. I don’t know why. I think some people love the core of a genre so much that they can’t think of leaving it. The concepts never get stale for them.

      • I’ve seen both types in the die hard groups. In fantasy, I get a lot of ‘this is how you should do it’ responses from those that have their set formula. Yet, I know other people (like my mom) who enjoy deviations from the formula. It keeps the genre fresh for them.

        • I was once pretty rigid in my genre reading primarily historical fiction, literary fiction or books with a lot of history to them, legal thrillers and anything by Anne Rice. My husband turned me onto some cozy mystery and crime drama. I joined a book club and began reading lots of other genre. I do believe, before I wrote in a specific genre, I would need to do exhaustive reading in that genre.

  2. This is not meant as a criticism for those who write in a genre and stick with it … but the idea of doing so bores me silly. Part of writing for me is creativity and stretching my mind and the boundaries of what I can try. That’s all I’ve got on this subject. 😉

  3. I think the new survival method for indie authors is to cross genres together that have not been previously crossed. Come up with something new, knock it out of the park and make your name synonymous with the new blend…a day in the sun is yours.

  4. We learn so much from reading your blog posts. The Q & A format is very effective for the topic. You never seem at a loss for new topics to explore. Yes, you have unique “Brand” of Genius, SK.

    About genre, the one that appeals to me most these days is memoir, I suppose because many of my own posts are aimed in that direction.

    • I have to give Charles credit for this genius. He always has bright, creative ideas and encourages authors to dig deep. This is like a little mini self interview on one topic.

      Memoir is one that I am looking at for a future book, with a nursing theme, or a theme toward not giving up no matter your circumstances.

  5. I’ve always enjoyed reading straight history. Never ever considered writing historical fiction and when I did I never considered it that. To me it was just a story that took place in a certain time.

    • True historical fiction takes the life of some famous or heroic person and spins a tale around the people associated with that person.

      I like real history, too. Straight history. I think that is why enjoy writing in another time period so much. Especially a politically hot time period. The research is fun.

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