#wpad blog challenge, day 16.
Am late in posting this because I struggled writing it. “Genre” is such a tricky concept… who defines it, what if your story straddles two or more, do you really have to specialize in one genre if you want to make it as an author?
Fellow #wpad blog challenge participant Kate Murray has some words of wisdom on this – it is confusing territory with uncertain borders, and one does not necessarily want to be confined to one genre, similar to being type-cast as an actor; on the other hand, there must be a reason why agents or publishers tell the hopeful writer to become established in one genre.
That does not mean you have to stay bound to it, though. Does it?
Just today I saw this post on facebook by the e-publisher Open Road Integrated Media:
Wha-hey! Author ventures into not one but three new genres! However, Kate Thompson is already an established author with an impressive track record as a YA fantasy writer. (All of this initially happened 12-15 years ago but the oeuvres are now released as e-books – if I recall correctly, ORIM specialize in publishing from backlists.)
My take on this question is that yes, it makes business sense to focus on one genre to make your name as an author. But surely it does not necessarily mean you’re stuck with that forever. I find that the majority of my story ideas do fall within a certain category, although please don’t pin me down on whether this is political / issue-led / social conscience thriller / adventure with some action and not to forget a just the occasional bit of romance. But I also have a number of fantastical and magic realism stories in a drawer, as well as a historical adventure screenplay (I feel the producers among my readers shudder… erm, what producers…?).
I have decided to focus on one type of story for the time being but not to neglect or give up on my other writing. And as for whether it’s “genre” or “category” or “type”… I just hope that I can describe whichever story it is to whichever agent so convincingly that once they’re hooked by the brilliance of it all, they will accept it even if it straddles three genres!