Thursday, October 18, 2012

Genre Divide

Had a heated "discussion" with the hunk yesterday. He's reading one of my books and decided to tell me exactly what he thinks. ☺

Well. Let's just say I was really put out for a while. And then enlightenment nearly struck me blind. Every thing he didn't like about the book--every thing--had to do with genre.

He didn't care for the paranormal elements. The sex was "okay" but why'd they have to be so mushy? Why wasn't there more fighting and exciting stuff? In short, why wasn't it more like a John Sandford or Robert B. Parker?

Ummm. Because it's a fantasy/paranormal/romance?

It's actually kind of interesting, once I waded past my mad, because it illustrates one of the problems authors face daily. The great genre divide.

If I had a penny for every individual who said to me, "I don't read romance... mysteries... paranormal... contemporaries... historical... fiction... non-fiction", I could buy a Mercedes. Maybe even two. I wonder if we wouldn't be better off if there were no genres. Yes, there would no doubt be some people would wouldn't read across genres anyway, but I suspect more would find new stories and new authors.

If Dickens, Twain, Huxley, and Steinbeck were up and coming authors now, how would we classify their work? Where would we shelve Tess of the D'Urbervilles? Or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court? What about 1984?

As more and more authors enter the self-publishing field, genres are blurring and most cross-genre stories are available. Are we narrowing the fields with our genre specific labels? I don't know. But it's interesting to consider the "what ifs".



  1. Well, even Frankenstein, at it's heart, was a romance. I suppose every book is a 'genre'. Even lit fic - mostly genre.

  2. Deep, woman...very deep. I have had readers tell me they won't read anything but BDSM because "ordinary romance" is too vanilla for them. And I have had readers tell me that they hate "open bedroom doors" because they prefer their sex "under the covers" instead of out in the open. Hey...everyone leans to his or her own ideals. But I would have missed a lot of fabulous romances if I had refused to read anything but contemporary. There are worlds and worlds of romance out there. And contemporary is just one small part of them. Readers can enjoy some of everything, if they are encouraged.

  3. Ah, we read what we like and disparage the rest. Writers keep on writing what they like and the world still turns...