This is a sort of a defining question, isn’t it? Much like a nosy person asking another about their type. Do you like them hot and sizzling like a summer Romance? Or do you like them dark and broody like a sinister Mystery? Or maybe you prefer the thrilling company of an Adventure, or the wit of a Comedy, or even the fun derived from a good old-fashioned Chick Lit.
Your choice in genre indirectly affects the way you appear to others. There are many people who tend to draw assumptions from the kind of genre you read or write. If you write fantasy, you must be out of sync with reality. If you write horror novels, you must have a mean streak. If you write erotica, you must be a perverted human being. If you write sci-fi, you must be a nerd… and so on. But what if someone wrote for more than one genre? Does that make them unstable?
I remember when I was younger I only wanted to read and write horror novels and murder mysteries. The Goosebumps and Fear Street books by R. L. Stine were a constant companion and inspiration to me. I actually had my own series – dubbed Screams of Terror – planned out and wrote like five or six books, each filled with murders and deaths more gruesome than the last. My friends called me an evil mastermind and told me they’ll be sure to stay on my good side forever. I was that devious. But then that sorta petered out and I stopped writing these things altogether.
My next piece of original fiction (The Muse Bunny) fell under magical realism. I actually did not know that that was my genre at the time; it took me a while before I finally realised that magical realism fit the most. Puppet Parade is definitely fantasy… though what kind, I really do not know. My current WIP (Penny For Your Dreams) is something entirely different; I’m writing a sci-fi chick lit. Yes, that is actually a thing, and I love it… even though it’s giving me a lot of trouble these days. Let’s just say I’ve never done so many rewrites before in my life, and it’s not boding well with me. 😦
I know many writers tend to keep to a single genre, and I can see the logic behind that. How can one build a proper fan base if the readers don’t know what they can expect from you, right? Personally, however, I enjoy the variety. I like not being in a monogamous relationship with a single genre; it allows me to experiment with my writing and feel free to try out whichever plot tickles my fancy. Today it might be sci-fi chick lit, the next might just be a simple drama.
The same goes to the books I read. When I go to a bookshop I don’t seek out a specific genre. If it has an interesting plot, I’m game. I’ve managed to come across many wonderful books that way. However, I do tend to stay as far away as possible from historical fiction and erotica; those are just no my cup of tea.
Are you a one-genre kind of person, or do you like to dabble in more than one? If you write for different genres, which one do you like best, and which one are you dealing with right now? 🙂
Also, an image I thought might be helpful: