Posts tagged ‘what genre’

September 3, 2011

“Pick a Genre, Any Genre”

If you’re an author then you get asked by people what genre you write, or what sort of things you write. I don’t feel that I write in any set genre, or maybe I’m unaware of it. I’ve written a few different things in different genres and some that I wouldn’t put in a genre at all. I’ve settled on a title for one book (Not Science Fiction) which highlights the genre it should belong to but purposefully excludes it as well.

I think that writing to suit a particular genre is limiting on writing. I prefer to write and see what the genre is once I’ve finished it. Sticking to tightly to the features of a genre stops you writing freely.

There is always the possibility of genre crossing. I am lining up a novella to write in the style of Raymond Chandler, with the features of 30’s/40’s American crime fiction, but set in the context of a Shakespearean play, where there is a murder to be solved and the characters speak in verse (my own, imitating Shakespeare, hopefully) but the narrator speaks in American slang. Genre crossing is effective if you want to parody a certain genre, as it draws attention to the features of that genre by applying them to something not associated with it’s features, such as Raymond Chandler’s private eye, Philip Marlowe, investigating the death of Humptey Dumptey, for example.

I’ve written coming-of-age/young adult sort of thing, science fiction comedy, spy thriller, alternative history, fantasy alternate reality.

If I had to say that I had any favourite genre to write in it would be “people”. I like characters and they make a genre. Write about teens you get coming-of-age. Astronauts you get sci-fi. Characters make a book. A genre is a set of features a writer chooses to repeat or adapt. A character is a new creation which reflects the individuality of the writer, much like plots are re-worked with different characters.

Any preference on genre? Any interesting cross genre ideas/experiments/examples?