1. SusieD.Nym

    SusieD.Nym New Member

    Jan 29, 2014
    Likes Received:
    The edge of NoWhere

    Within the Borders

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by SusieD.Nym, Feb 11, 2014.

    I was wondering if most folks stay within one genre when they write. I know it would be useful because the same readers would be interested in reading both of their (or more) books. It also might be just a matter of personal preference for the writer. I'm about 1/2 way through a general fiction novel and I have an idea for a sci-fi novel bouncing around in my brain. I'm a long way off from starting to write but, now I'm curious.
  2. Bjørnar Munkerud

    Bjørnar Munkerud Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Oslo, Norway
    I've done poetry (and planning on more of that later), currently writing science fantasy ("urban fantasy"-esque in style) and planning YA, children's literature, short stories, romance, "absurdist" works, semi-authobiographical works etc.

    I would love to have readers read and love all of it, but I understand them if they don't.

    Both from a money and from a purely "spreading your work to the most possible people" standpoint, however, it's the total that matters (most easily measured in the number of works sold or amount of money made).

    One person reading and liking twenty of my works is exactly as good as twenty people reading one each, be it the same one or not, as long as they enjoy it the same, and I get the revenue from that.

    I know that some readers stick to one genre (for example science fiction) and never leave it, spanning many different authors, some may read all the science fiction works of and other they may pick and choose from while others will instead stick to authors they like and read all their works, going back or jumping on new releases as they are released. This is the same as some people listening to the same bands and artists over and over again while others stick to only country, rock, metal, pop or opera. Or how some movie viewers care more about the director of the film than anything else while others only watch comedies. I say let the consumer decide what to consume. And by saying that I also mean let the author decide what to write. Don't force yourself or others to stick to a series or genre. Do what you think is best. Sometimes, however, that means listening to the readers, sales numbers or publishers, but even more often it's a matter of motivation and having enough material for a work.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
    Mckk likes this.
  3. Bryan Romer

    Bryan Romer Contributor Contributor

    Jan 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I do a wide variety. Historical, Science Fiction, Mystery/Action. No romance though.
  4. thewordsmith

    thewordsmith Contributor Contributor

    Nov 18, 2009
    Likes Received:
    State of Confusion
    As the others have noted, I, too, write across genres - high fantasy, urban fantasy, spy thriller, police procedural/cops & robbers, children's, YA/NA, a-a-a-and, for good measure, poetry and romance, too! (Hmm. I don't have any sci-fi in that mix, do I? -- Ah! That's what I'm working on now!)

    Some people do find a comfortable niche in one genre or another and tend to stick with it. Others, such as Bryan, Bjørner, and myself, tend to write across (outside?) the lines.

    You don't really need to engender a following that will read everything you write. While you may develop a following of fans who will read everything you write, you are more likely to find you have different groups of fans who will follow one genre and may or may not read anything from any other genre - yours or anyone else's.

    The bottom line is, write what you love, regardless of the audience. Like water, your reading audience will find its own level.
    Bryan Romer likes this.
  5. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
    Likes Received:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I like to be-bop around. Drama/general literature, humorous, sci-fi, crime, fantasy. But I would hopefully drag fans around from genre to genre as no matter what I write it seems to come out it's own brand of offbeat. A combination of my upbringing and reading/watching habits. I love to see the offbeat in everything - Like Matt Clark in Little House on the Prairie whose family died in the plague and then again ( but with a different character name of course) from anthrax.

    I think if you want to go for the big bucks though, becoming a known name in a certain field/genre is the way to go. First of all you can come up with ideas easier- because your field of scope is narrowed. And once you get a fan base it's easier to respond with the next book and kind of feed off that relationship. I love certain authors because they stick to a genre because I know what I'm getting - I love Joy Fieldings thriller's. I loved reading Kathleen Woodiwiss ( when I was on a historical romance kick) and Ruby Jean Jensen's horror's.

    Plus how many people who loved Stephen King's horror read his dramatic stories? There's two kinds of fans those that love your stories, those that love work/style. The ones that love your style will follow you, the ones that love the stories won't necessarily venture outside the genre accept perhaps out of curiosities sake.
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Puerto Rico
    To answer the question, yes, I'm rather true to the genres I enjoy writing, science fiction and certain flavors of fantasy (magic realism, mostly). I do try my best to branch away from these genres in my reading, though, because I want to experience writing technique in other genres and in non-genre lit (which is such silly moniker). I'm only ever partially successful. I still need something of the exotic or not from my personal world in the story to keep me captivated. It can be a period piece or something taking place in a culture different to my own, things like that.
  7. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Nov 5, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    I write across a lot of genres. Only including novels, I've written fantasy, YA sci-fi, post apocalyptic drama, and standard fiction. I'm not exactly sure if I have a favourite genre to write. :rolleyes:
  8. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Near Sedro Woolley, Washington
    Right now, I'm writing science fiction and alternate-history fantasy. But I like to consider my work "literary fiction," because that term has expanded recently to encompass just about any genre. Writers like Anthony Burgess and J. G. Ballard wrote "science fiction," but it was considered literary fiction by many, and their works were respected and reviewed in serious magazines and newspapers. David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas contains historical and futuristic components; is it "science fiction," "historical fiction," or "let's-just-give-up-and-call-it-fiction fiction"?

    Serious writers are blending genres these days. People used to look down on science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres because they were published in pulp magazines and the writers were hacks and the quality was poor. But that was a function of the medium, not the genre. Modern writers know there's nothing intrinsically wrong with sci-fi or horror or anything else, so they incorporate everything they can imagine. This is very healthy for literature as a whole.

    Stephen King, for all the complaints I've had about him in the past, is partially responsible for this. He became huge as a horror writer, but when he started doing things like "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," he proved that he could attract genre audiences to straight, well-written general fiction. Other writers have done the same, and now that "genre" fiction is respectable, everybody's doing it.

    All that is to say that, as modern literature has developed, genre means less and less and nobody bats an eye when they see a historical-romance writer dealing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, or anything else.
  9. Burlbird

    Burlbird Contributor Contributor

    Dec 29, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Somewhere Else
    wow, this forum DID change! At least, it seems that in the last few months it attracted people with more open literary views :) a while ago, this thread would've been flooded by posts claiming that "a writer has to stick to one genre because he has to be easily recognized by his readers", and of course, my favorite, "if a well established author can get away with something [like mashing-up genres] it doesn't mean a noobie can" :D
    SusieD.Nym likes this.
  10. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Queens, NY
    Genres are not set in stone. They are marketing tools, a classification system established by purveyors of books so that their customers could easily find what they were looking for. In publishing, they also provide a handy road map for agents and editors. Really good writers, like really good musicians, have always been able to work beyond the perceived limits of genre.

    Ask 100 music fans familiar with his work what genre Johnny Cash belongs in, and the majority will likely say, "Country". But some will say "Rockabilly" (he described himself that way upon induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame); others "Blues"; still others, "Gospel". And they'd all be right.

    In my view, a good story crosses lines.
    peachalulu likes this.

Share This Page