Feels weird to get back to it, but it's about time, I think...
So my buddy Leigh posted last week about knowing where you fit: Knowing your Niche.
And don't tell anyone I am telling on her, but she confessed to *whispers* genre hopping!
And honestly, I'm not monogenred myself, though I do have a TYPE... I thought maybe we could talk a little about WHY we write what we do, how much flexibility there is in there, and whether the genres are connected or not... I'll go first, how's that?
BROAD (but not unlimited)
I love dark twisted stuff is what it boils down to.
It covers most suspense (in fact this is probably my favorite, as it has more character depth than thrillers, and if I am diving into danger, I'd rather do it with someone I care about)
It covers MUCH mystery, but here too, I like the sub-genres where I get to know people and feel for them, so I am VERY picky on professional sleuths. I've read a ton I love, and I've put a ton aside unfinished because the person leading the story is one I just don't find compelling.
I love dystopian stuff provided there is that character connect (some, like Orwell's stuff, is way too detached.)
I love family sagas—you know, where there is some dark secret that is tearing a family apart... or some grand event that makes them learn what is important...
I love historic fiction IFF the story and characters are compelling... I really prefer this to teach me history without it feeling like it's teaching me... I just finished The Pericles Commission and it is a SUBLIME example of and excellently done historic (in this case, murder mystery, so a double win)
I love fantasy DONE WELL. There needs to be a solid plausibility built in. Yeah, I know the CRITTERS and PEOPLES are often fantasy... I know there is MAGIC, but the rules need to be limited in a consistent way that amps the story. And honestly... these are often published without adequate editing... but when they are great, they are great.
What I sometimes Enjoy
Sci-Fi I am picky about but HAVE liked. I love... for instance... Ender's Game. I also love a medical sci fi. I think this is a genre I am limited for the same reason as some thrillers. I don't CARE about machines and technical crap, but the MEDICAL technical crap, because of my field, I can assimilate without feeling like it is that... The stuff though about relationships that happens to be set futuristically... that stuff is pretty cool.
Chick Lit... This is sort of a mood thing... I LOVED my first Jennifer Werner book and the second felt like an identical book and had no appeal. I really like a journey of self-discovery... I've LOVED a couple Anna Quindlan books and I think they fall here, though I guess I'm not sure... they seem to be family journeys more interesting to women though.
Literary Fiction: I really love it if it isn't too pretentious, but it takes a lot more brain power on my end, so it is a more rare read.
What I Really Don't Read
Non-fiction: My life already has more reality than I care for...
There... so I've said it.
That SAID, I adore romance as the secondary plot to ANY of the above genres. It ROCKS as a secondary plot. You know why? It allows a romance to happen in a more realistic way if it isn't genre romance, and I LIKE LOVE. (note that chick lit romance usually involved personal growth—makes it much better, in my opinion.)
So how does that affect what I WRITE?
I'd love to write all the stuff I like, but I have some limitations...
I don't have the KNOWLEDGE (erm... or drive to learn) what is needed for historical, sci fi, or the thrillers that get into political stuff. Also on the more technical variety of mystery, though HERE, I can see myself progressing some. As I learn from the amateur sleuths I already write, I may decide to venture into slightly more knowledgeable sleuths. Probably I will never be a cop.
I don't have the IMAGINATION to write fantasy. This may be because I came to the genre late—I thought I was 'too mature' at much too young an age. I think I can say the same for horror... I just have a lot of trouble coming up with new, interesting awful stuff.
I have a couple ideas that are chick lit... I have a family sage (sort of mine) I KNOW I will write some day... but these are all sort of 'eventually' things.
For MORE thrillers... it is a skill issue, but also a character commitment... probably I won't get there.
What I end up with is the suspense, mystery, and the dark end of YA.
So how is the overlap of what you read and write, and what limits you (or does anything) for the writing end?