Thursday, August 12, 2010

Know Your Genre

Phew, feeling a little better and mapping out chapter 3. I don't normally write outlines for a chapter, but I'm a little slow right now and I just want to make sure I don't forget any of the ideas I have in mind. I'm still not quite back into the swing of things, but I'm getting there.

While working on chapter 3, thoughts have occurred to me to bring in elements from different genres, but that wouldn't work. Some say, go ahead! It's only fiction. I say... no :P And here's why...

With all the confusion with cross-genres we see nowadays with books, tv and movies, I'm going to clear up a few things about multiple genres.

A cross genre author does not automatically mean an author who is able to write multiple genres within the same freaking story. Always decide well beforehand what genre the story will be. My current project is sci-fi with heavy post-apocalyptic themes. Yes, there will be drama and even horror but as added elements, not separate genres. Using influences from other genres can help flesh out a story and make it more 3 dimensional, but if these extra elements are used as actual genres, I'll only confuse the crap out of the readers.

Some authors write only romance, others write only thrillers. Cross genre authors are those who can write more than one genre per book. The first book is a romance, second is historical fiction, and so on and so forth.

The fact is, and I'm sorry if this comes off as harsh, using more than one genre in a story, is a sign of bad writing. I'm sorry, I truly am, but that's just the way it is. Writers who have a sense of professionalism understand and know only one genre is needed per story anyway. Putting in that much in one story, well, to an agent or publisher, it will just seem like the writer is trying too hard and that's an automatic rejection.

And now for the specific example in my current writing project. Though it's sci-fic, and more importantly fiction, I could use just about any type of genre to help move along the plot line. Romance, Paranormal elements, Family Drama, oye, the list goes on. But I'm not going to, because that's not the genre I'm writing. The main focus is on “post-apocalypse” and if I deviated from that, the story would fall apart. It would just come across as absurd, and I'm not writing a humor novel.

Every writer would do themselves a huge favor and know the genre they're writing. Remember, it's fiction, the sky's the limit. If you want to write another genre, just start a new and different novel. It's that simple.
NOTE: Look for a special post tomorrow announcing the next contest!

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