1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Why do writers pick one genre...

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Daniel, Jun 16, 2007.

    Okay, this question might not have any real answer, but I'm interested in your opinion. Why do authors, for the most part, only pick one genre and concentrate on that?

    For example, a scifi/fantasy author rarely crosses over to romance, and so on.

    Why is this? Is this because that's simply what the author is best at, because that's what's best for the publisher/publicity, or a different reason?
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Part of the answer, I believe, lies in that writers tend to write the novels that they'd like to find on the shelves at libraries and bookstories.

    There are a number of professional writers that branch out from one genre to others, somtimes under pen names. However, keeping that in mind, working and improving writing to break into a market and get published is difficult and concentrating in one area, one that is really enjoyed, helps that process along.

    Even so, I think you'll find that some starting writers write in several genres--coming from the stories that strike or interest them.

    I kind of believe that at the core, stories are stories--plot lines are plot lines. The genre is often just the backdrop for the action. Sometimes some aspect may be magnified, such as romance (but that can even be accomplished in cross genre works, which are not uncommon--ie paranormal romance novels).

    Just one opinion to add to the mix.

    Terry
     
  3. RustyHicks
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    RustyHicks Member

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    I think the writer will write what they are comfortable in writing. What they feel in their heart and soul. Some just can't seem to trinkle into another genre, they just can't feel comfortable. Guess they stick with what they are comfortable with, like an old pair of shoes. I myself like writing drama and suspense, I tried writing a romance once, it just seemed like hard work that was going no where, so I went back with what I know and can work with. Just my two cents
     
  4. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I think that the real answer to this question is another question:

    "Why do readers tend to pick one genre?"
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Does a writer pick the genre, or does the genre pick the writer?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    could be any/all of the above, for some... but, basically, for the same reason many artists pick one medium or type of subject to work in... they're either better at painting with oils than watercolors, and doing still life over landscapes, or they like to work in them better...

    and, as in art, only a rare few of the truly great can do several or all well...

    regardless of whether a genre 'calls to' one in some way, or not, the decision is still the writer's alone, isn't it?...
     
  7. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    "Welcome to News at Nine, here on the Writing Forums InfoChannel! Earlier today, MammaMaia was bore down upon ruthlessly by a group of fatalists who said that they "begged to differ, or they would if they had a conscious chance to beg, let alone make any choices of their own in the pre-set course that their life was destined to take!""

    ...so yeah, I'm mainly kidding there, but I really do like the potential debate heating up here: Do people choose genres, really?
     
  8. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Or are we drawn to it?
     
  9. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writers write what they know. I know I do. I don't necessarily pick a genre to write about. I just write about things where I can draw on my own experiences. That's all I have to say.
     
  10. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    The above explains why we are what we read:
    People who write what they know, in the literal sense, are "realistic fiction" writers. (Example: Since high school girls have such a rough time of everything- or so they make us believe- the main writing force of high school novels seems to be women.)

    Also, it explains why science fiction kind of loops its reading/writing audience: Usually, sci-fi/fantasy is read by white, geeky guys. (No exaggeration.) So usually sci-fi/fantasy is written by white, geeky guys, because they're writing what they know.
     
  11. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    Two words: Auteur and Demograph.

    A subject matter and theme is enticing to a budding author and becomes a very strong obsession to the point whereby sooner or later that person will be so good at them and knowledgeable about how they work that they will inevitably become almost an authority. Stephen King, REGARDLESS what anyone thinks of him (good author, bad author) is an authority amongst many in the genre he writes.

    Philip K. Dick was a successful sci-fi writer because he knew his readership and stuck to it. Had he chosen to write in a new genre like, for example, historical adventure he most certainly will have lost his regular readership and only the most fanatical will have stuck by him and shown tolerance and open-mindedness to read his new material with an open mind whilst at the same time found a whole new fan base.
    Now PKD didn't die a rich man, but success is not always measured by money.
    But had PKD, or any writer for that matter, had changed genres he would most certainy have to retry in building up a new readership all over again.


    I don't personally think that whether a writer chooses a genre or whether a genre chooses him is really important. Only that it is satisfying and fun in ways important for the writer.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no such word... did you mean 'demography'?... or 'demographics'?... and how does that relate to the genre a particular writer chooses/is chosen by?
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Strictly speaking, yes. But writing is hard work, and also demands a lot of the writer emotionally. If a particular genre doesn't have its shiny hooks embedded in you, you could probably still write in that genre,but it will definitely be an upriver swim. Hell, it's enough of a stuggle when the genre does have you in its tender grip!
     
  14. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    Look it like this

    Take a horror writer and a romantic writer

    Now the horror writer only writes horror and doesn't dare explore or put on paper a romantic piece of literature, because the person/author perhaps doesn't know the ins or outs of romance and love and because of his/her ignorance in this genre, doesn't have the expierence to write on it. He may not understand what to be romantic is, nor take it as seriously as certain romatic writers do.

    The Romantic writer on the other hand, why might he not write horror and tales of spookinees?
    He likes to tell stories of love and bonding and passion, while they don't perhaps have the want to write of horror or understand what it takes to truly scare someone and set the scene. They could perhaps not like it, find it to their disliking, preferring romance to werewolves and such!

    All in all, I think it all boils down to the person behind the book. Thier character will/ should influence what they will write. Someone could love writing about mystery stories ( Agatha Christie, wrote many the detective stroy) and hate a particular genre. It's about preference.
    I mean, would you really want to write a book in a certain genre that you know absoultely nothing about/ or simply don't enjoy writing about it? Sure if the idea is there, then they might sometimes write on more widespread genres, but I reckon most of the time, an author won't pick a great number of genres, because they probably enjoy writing about a certain genre out of the rest.

    I'd say a reader will read much more genres than an author would care to write about.
    This is just from my prespective, telling it from experiences in this kind of thing.
     
  15. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    Also I might add, on the subject of the writers who do take that transition after writing about a partciular genre for a certain period of time, It should be interesting to see what will J.K Rowling write about after the last Harry potter book and how she will fare writing outside the Harry Potter world
     
  16. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I'm sure she'll be a bestseller on all preceding books, regardless of their quality or genre.
     
  17. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. Some great opinions.

    It looks like several of you think it's simply because that's what they're best at (which I'll agree with to an extent) and/or that they're not as knowledgeable in another genre.

    Maybe I'm just unusual, but I enjoy writing stuff from just about every genre.
     
  18. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Actually, she said a few times that she wants to do murder-mysteries.
     
  19. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    mmm, agatha christie the second perhaps!
     
  20. KimberlyDawnWells
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    KimberlyDawnWells New Member

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    I think this may be the case. I haven't considered a genre for the books I've been writing so far. To me, it doesn't really matter, or at least not until I need something to identify with for promotional reasons. I don't purposely set out with a book to be crime fiction or a mystery or a romance or anything else. It becomes what it becomes and I will find a place for it in the marketplace no matter how it gets categorized.

    Unless someone finally defines the category, "Something Different." ;) Hey, that could be my job!
     
  21. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend to write what I know most about because I like to make my stories realistic, so I don't write about organisations, places, relgions etc that I don't know anything about and I tend to stick to the genres which i'm better at writing.
     
  22. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I don't pick a genre- I just write. Usually I will focus on plot, and so my writing often includes elements of many genres.

    But as to why people write one particular genre; I personally think it's probably due to the fact that it's what they enjoy writing, and what they enjoy reading. I don't believe you can write well, unless you enjoy what your doing. Another factor, I guess, could be that people write what they know; which might fall into a particular genre.
     
  23. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend to stick to horror and fantasy myself. My reason is that I know more about those genres than the others and I never write Romance, becuase I am not a romance type person :D

    I like horror because I am able to come up with some pretty gorey stuff, with loads of blood and guts and I am good at creating nasty and vindictive characters.

    I stick with what I know.
     
  24. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Blood is fun :D
     
  25. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes indeed it is :D
     

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