Genres are popular. I get it. Genres categorize novels so readers can browse through the books they are more likely to be interested in. (Yes, that’s a preposition at the end of a sentence. It’s late, and I don’t feel like re-writing it. Plus, that’s what blogs are for.)
Back to genres.
Many authors are extremely successful by finding their genre, claiming their niche, and sticking with it. Readers come to know what to expect and eagerly wait to read the next installment or series.
But not me. I’m definitely not a genre writer.
I don’t write YA.
I don’t write Horror.
I don’t write romance.
I don’t write historical fiction.
I don’t write dystopian, steam punk, fantasy, or any other genre.
I’m what they call a fiction writer. I write fiction. Sounds kind of bland, doesn’t it?
Sometimes my works have been called contemporary fiction or literary fiction. But does anyone even know what literary fiction actually means? And what criteria would one use to include or not include a novel into the literary fiction genre?
I have no idea.
I guess what I’m saying is, I really don’t like genres and how everything in the industry is categorized as this or that. But that’s the reality. I guess that is our human nature. We like to define and box-in whatever we can in order to …? what? I’m not sure. We humans like control. Perhaps that’s the issue. Control. We like the neat and tidy, so our brains can grasp the black and whiteness of everything. Classic western culture and its dichotomistic thinking.
So I’m always uncomfortable when someone asks me what genre my novel, Beauty Rising, is. I wish I could just say it’s a good story that you’ll like. Just try it.
But I usually sigh, and categorize it as fiction or general fiction or literary fiction (again, based on what criteria?) or contemporary fiction (since it does take place in modern day).
I loathe to call it a romance because that has certain clear connotations – although my novel certainly has a romance in it, which is crucial to the story line.
It’s not a war story, though everything in the story has its relation to or roots in the Vietnam War era.
It’s not a historical novel, though it has a lot of history in it – especially in the chapter named “Hanoi.”
It’s not a crime novel, though there are scenes of theft, murder, political corruption, and probably a few other crimes.
The one thing I do know is this: it’s a work of fiction. Isn’t that enough?
I don’t see me ever being a genre writer. I will write where my inspiration takes me, and that is usually in many different directions. I can’t wait for my second novel to be released because it is very different from my first. I can’t wait to hear the reaction (or backlash).
Either way. It will be similar to Beauty Rising in at least one way.
It will be a work of fiction/general fiction/literary fiction.
I guess I do have a genre.