This week’s blog is a joint effort and we’re tackling the thorny question of genres we wouldn’t write in…
Jennie Bohnet says:
Oh dear, there are so many genres that I can’t see myself ever writing in! At the moment I write in the genre usually labelled ‘woman’s fiction’ or ‘chick-lit’. Incidentally I think both those labels are a tad insulting to women in general but that’s the way the market is.
My stories are about relationships but for me that rarely includes sex scenes. I’m very definitely keep ‘the bedroom door closed’ sort of writer! I’ve tried once or twice but sitting at the keyboard typing the scene I embarrass myself. So erotica heads the list, closely followed by horror, dystopian, fantasy and YA (another slightly patronising marketing term). These are all genres I never read so wouldn’t know how to start writing in them.
Are there any genres left that maybe I would consider? Mmm, I have to admit I do fancy writing a novel set in the decade before the second world war when the Jazz Age was at its height in the south of France. I admit too I’ve done lots research already. But the early twentieth century is now regarded as an historical era and that is a genre I’ve never thought I’d write in so perhaps . . .
Terry Lynn Thomas says:
Choosing a genre is a pivotal moment for any writer. Think about it. Once we choose a genre, (A murder? A romance? A ghost story? Police procedural?) we’ve committed to spending 300 pages in this particular world and scenario. Operating under the credo of write what you love, I am a devout crime and mystery writer. And while I read across variety of genres, there are a handful that I don’t see myself writing anytime soon.
Who doesn’t love a good romance, especially when the damaged alpha male heals his wounds, both psychological and physical, and throws himself on the sword for the love of his woman? (This trope works well reversed, too, with a damaged alpha female.) Love – the lack of it, the desire for it, and the unattainability of it – is a perfect backdrop for conflict. There are so many writers who amaze me with the way they weave rich story tapestries around love. Oh, how I wish I could do the same. Who doesn’t love a well-crafted romance, a fresh, upbeat happily ever after, especially if it’s laced with historical intrigue? There are times when I read straight romance and am amazed at the deft way in which the author deals with the emotion. This skill does not, however, extend to me. On the occasions where I’ve tried to write about love, someone always winds up dead. Mysteries are my jam. Happy 2020, all.
Victoria Cornwall says:
I find documentaries about real life crime/murder, and how it is ultimately solved by the police force and forensic team, fascinating. I would love to be able to write a great contemporary crime novel and how it was solved using ground breaking forensics and research, and, of course, have lots of twists and turns along the way. Although I “enjoy” learning about these real life crime cases, I also know how much I don’t know about the subject i.e. protocols, advancement in techniques etc.
With this in mind, I would never attempt to write a contemporary crime novel. I would want the story to be accurate, but without inside knowledge or experience of working in these places myself, I am concerned it would end up being a superficial homage to the real thing. I call these types of films/books “Scooby Doo” crime stories, where the method of solving the crime is inaccurate, out of date and breaks protocols which would, in reality, damage the court case which would follow. Perhaps an historical murder mystery would be the answer, where intuition and eye witnesses played a larger role and when procedural protocols were ill-defined.
Rae Cowie says:
To write in any given genre, I believe an author must read widely and be familiar with that market’s offering, which is why I will never attempt to write procedural crime fiction. My understanding is that the crime fiction market, as well as being hugely popular, is one where readers are particularly knowledgeable and demanding in terms of facts.
Although I enjoy reading psychological suspense and domestic noir, I don’t read nearly enough procedural or true crime fiction to give these genres a go. Instead, I’ll continue to explore my dark side by penning short stories that include suspense, sometimes even death, but without the need for police procedural knowledge. I’ll leave that to the experts!
Linda Mitchelmore says:
I could never write crime. Never. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer so to know the end (whodunnit) before I'd written the first chapter wouldn't be for me. In real life, I've also seen the effects crime has on people .... even a thing like a simple break-in or a bag snatch, can really upset the status quo. There have also been much more serious and life-changing crimes against family members, so .... crime is out.
And, er um, erotica. I'm not a prude but .... I wouldn't choose to write it, I am of the missionary persuasion so wouldn't know where to start with sex games. Write what you know is good advice and I know nothing!
And then there's science fiction. I know no one can criticise the content of a sci fi novel because well, no one knows if those other worlds exist, but when sci fi characters start talking about obscure pieces of equipment with strange names I can't pronounce I'm lost.
I've written historical novels and I've written contemporary women's fiction so I'll probably stick to those at this stage in my life .... but never say never!
What genres do I not write in? Well I think it would be easier to say the only genre I do write in - which is dual timeline. But I guess within my dual timeline novels there is historical, crime, mystery, romance... so in a way I write in all of those, just all within the same book!
I would never try a police procedural, or a modern day thriller, although I do occasionally read these genres. I feel they'd be too hard to get right. I would also never write horror, and don't read it either. And my chances of being able to write a credible Young Adult novel are slim - I'm just not 'down with the kids' enough to be able to pull this off.
I do admire authors who write in several genres, sometimes with many pen names. Being able to switch from one to another is quite a feat. I chose to write dual timeline as they were my favourite books to read, so for the moment at least I am sticking to it.
Jo Allen says:
As someone who’s switched genre and may yet switch again, I would be giving a hostage to fortune if I started to list the genres I’ll never write in. Once upon a time, I recall, I said I would never, could never, write crime…and here I am.
I think there are lines in the sand, though, and those are drawn at genres that don’t interest me. While horror and sci-fi are hugely popular and require enormous talent to do properly, they don’t really interest me. I dip into them but I’m definitely not a huge fan and really don’t think I could commit the time and effort required to do them justice. The same goes for erotica: I’m much more about the motional side than the physical.
That said, I recently found myself saying the same about fantasy (I mean, I have nothing but admiration for those who can be bothered to build and entire new world). Then i went through some old files and discovered the earliest known piece of my fiction writing, which is a piece of fan fiction written in the style of Tolkien — and that’s about as fantastic as it gets.