|(c) Chiaralily, creative commons.|
I’m a genre chameleon.
It’s one of the things I love about writing kidlit. As opposed to adult fiction, we write YA (or MG!) first, genre second. Which gives us more leeway to experiment, to try genres we never had thought about writing. And obviously I’m a big fan of this.
I don’t think it’s as easy as it may seem. I’m convinced that to write in a specific genre, you have to know that genre inside out. You have to know what recent publications look like. You have to know who the big players and primary examples in the genre are and why. You have to respect the genre you're writing.
I wandered around in fantasy publishing for a long, long time and I can’t even count the number of times I had people tell me writing fantasy was so easy because there were no rules to follow. Or that they wanted to write fantasy someday, because they had such amazing ideas that would take the genre beyond what Tolkien did. And oh, they loved to read fantasy books, but they grew over that.
|(c) JosephKes creative commons|
Frankly, I always wanted to tell them to write and find out just how “easy” it is. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s a better way to get to know any genre than to write it. No matter how much you read, understanding the subtleties of a genre is a matter of testing it and trying it. So I don’t think you have to have read every single book, all award winners, or all the NYT bestsellers.
But you have to know the basics before you dive in. Because, those people? As a reader and a writer who loves all genres, I wanted to strangle them, too.
Every genre has its own conventions, its own hardships, and its own challenges. Its fun sides and its perks. Some of my favorite writers write across the genres. But when you start to write a story because it seems easier and you know better than the rest of the world what it's supposed to be... you're doing both the story and the reader a disservice.
Or maybe I just have a pathologic need to understand everything before I dive in. Both are probably true. ;)
Do you genre hop? Do you think it’s easy? Do you prefer investigating, or trial by experience?