Friday, 17 June 2011


Most people will have considered the genre that they write at some point (and yes, literary fiction counts, given that it implies a specific sort of writing) and it’s often quite easy to pin down, even in these days when vampires don’t make you horror and the past doesn’t make you historical. I, for example, am most readily described as a writer of comic or humorous fantasy (or urban fantasy, in the case of the older stuff).

Except when I’m not. Even leaving aside the different spaces my ghost writing pulls me into (from comedy cyber-punk to fairy-tale style fantasy and even some very weird pieces of historical fiction) not everything I write is necessarily funny, or fantasy, or both. I’d guess that the same is true of you.

What’s worse is that I sometimes find myself thinking ‘right, how do I get the jokes in?’ or ‘how do I make this more obviously fantasy?’ Not often, but sometimes. And at that point, the genre has taken over. It’s like when you decide at the start that you’re writing YA vampire romance, and you make a list of points to hit that includes werewolf third point to the love triangle, refusal to be bitten, older vampires wanting to kill the MC, etc. Or you start to plot your epic fantasy, and you spend hours working out how to work in the elf, the dwarf, and the slightly grumpy old wizard.

Surely it is better to just write whatever comes out of your imagination? To spend less time sticking a label on work and more on making it your own. Who knows, they might even name a genre after what you do.

1 comment:

Donna Hole said...

Like discussing the difference between plotters and pantsters . .

I believe an author really does need to write from the heart first. Get it all out there. Do a revision or two. Then see what it is, which will help with the genre issue. IMO, anyway.