Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Know Your Genre


- Know your genre.

Genres change.  Romance is still mostly about love and horror is still mostly about people being terrified or killed, however in recent years, some genres have boomed, evolved mutated and developed in vastly unexpected ways.

Many genres have grown up and become sophisticated—that’s not to say there weren’t great books in the past. However a lot of those great books might not pass the bar today—they’d be considered too cliché, to slow and too unimaginative.

I think this is due, in part, to computers and the internet allowing publishers and the rest of the world to really see what is selling and where the money is going. The best selling genre in the world is romance—and it has been for a very long time. However now everyone is being forced to admit this and can’t claim the intellectually ‘superior’ books are also financial superior, everyone is starting to take these previously dismissed genres seriously.

Too often, writers tell me they write ‘X’ genre, but don’t read it because they’re all the same. If it’s fantasy, they say they’re all about dragons, wizards, elves and princesses. Maybe they are, I mean, assuming we’ve been sucked back to the 80s and we can’t get home.

Another issue is people writing manuscripts that follow a plot that has been done to death. Vampires, for example. There is probably some way you could still write an original novel in this genre. However I don’t read them and I still know many of the plots unpublished writers are working on are exact copies of what is already out there.

Know your genre. Know what came out this year in your genre. Know what is coming out next year in your genre. And know what came out last year. Be familiar with the competition—and what is and isn’t expected of you.

I’m not saying not to write something if you’re passionate about it, but do know what it’s up against and what you need to do to rise it above the competition.

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