November 8, 2013

What's your genre?

Dear M,

What genre do you write in?

Many of my writer friends have clarity in what they want to write - such clarity that makes me jealous.
I am a fantasy writer.
Mine is Sci-Fi.
Oh, me? I read and write romance.

I had no idea about the genre I would want to write in - thriller? I didn't think I could thrill anyone. Horror? Ugh, it will sound like comedy. Comedy? People will cry. Fantasy? Hmm. Perhaps a touch of it here and there. Science fiction? Same. Romance? Naaaaaaah. No way. Literary fiction? Gulp. The safest bet was to call my story contemporary fiction. Neither here nor there. Perfect.

They say you should write the story you would love reading. If it were only that simple. It's like trying to steer the bicycle for the first time. We know where we want it to go, but that bicycle doesn't. It decides to go where its fancy takes it. We cling to the handle bar for dear life and try to turn it this way and that, and to keep it steady, but the dude has his own mind and makes decisions on his own. (And lo and behold, we find ourselves on our a$$, on the ground.)

That's what happened. I tried to write the story I would have wanted to read, something inspired by a story I enjoyed reading, a novel that made me think, this is the kind of story I like. Yes, that's what I want to write. Then it began to steer me.

I had absolutely no idea where we were headed, the story and I. And we ended up in a place that was not exactly the destination I had in mind. And yet, I did not find myself on the ground either. I guess somewhere along the way, I learned to keep my balance. (But my genre is still contemporary fiction, until I learn to steer closer to one of the other solid ones, without crashing to the ground.)

I think we should try our hand at every genre, at least those of us who aren't sure of ourselves yet. A little experimenting never hurts. For one thing, it will show us clearly which ones we are good at. For another, (I believe) we can observe a curious phenomenon: when we try Sci Fi, we will end up writing a lot of fantasy as well. When we try Romance, we introduce a touch of fantasy into it. When we write thrillers and adventure stories, there will be a bit of fantasy here and there. The inclination towards fantasy will not escape us, if we are observant enough. And voilĂ  - that's our genre.


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  1. just one question.. how do u get that word could on the top right sidebar please? i have been trying and trying on google and getting naught. oh, and on the genre, i cant really say bcs well.... one has to be a writer furst :)

    1. It's quite easy. In blogger, go to Layout->Add a Gadget and choose Show Labels or Show Categories. There's an option to show the labels/categories as a word cloud or a list.

  2. Well, I don't think a writer should worry too much about the genre. :) A writer should write from the heart.

  3. One thing is sure - your writings are very impressive. Forget about which genre you belong. I am quite sure you can write anything and about everything that comes your way.