Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Do You Write in Your Genre?

Most writers know that they wanted to write at some point. As one of my friends recently told me, "You have to have that bug, I guess." But I'm always curious as to what it is that draws people to write in certain genres. Is it just that we write what we like to read?

I write women's fiction. I guess you could call it chick lit, although that terms seems to imply froth. Humorous women's fiction, to clarify. (Although the humor part is entirely subjective.) When the right amount of snark is combined with the hopes and dreams and worries and challenges of a woman, I love it. That's what I like to read, and it's what I like to write. Not to mention the fact that by writing it, I get to live vicariously through my characters! For me, it doesn't get any better than Marian Keyes. Other long-time and unfailing favorites in the genre are Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Elizabeth Berg, Jennifer Weiner, Mary Kay Andrews, Tracy Chevalier, Anne Tyler, Barbara Kingsolver....these are authors I've read multiple books by, but I read and enjoy many, many more. (See my Goodreads profile for what I'm currently reading and what I have read.)

How did you get into what you write? YA, thrillers, mystery? What draws you to that genre and what about it especially do you like writing?


Tina Lynn said...

YA all the way, baby! If I was a guy, you'd call it a Peter Pan complex. I just never grew up. I have a theory about that. I think if I wouldn't have skipped the last two years of high school to move on to college, I would be more of a grown up, but alas, I'm stuck in Neverland. That's cool though. All my daughter's friends wish I was their mom:)

Yvonne Osborne said...

See, this is exactly my problem with genre definition, women's fiction in particular. Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors but I would never group her with Jennifer Weiner and I do not like chick lit. YA has more depth and purpose then this all-empassing women's fiction net, which has become so wide flung, it is impossible to define.

Yvonne Osborne said...

"than" this "all-encompassing" women's fiction net.....sorry. One reason I guess I still like word verification and edit opportunity!

Meika said...

I write Chick Lit, too. I love Jennifer Weiner. I'm definitely going to check out your GoodReads profile!

Travener said...

Mystery/thriller/sort of/it's a little less straightforward than that -- that's the genre. Why? I dunno. It's the kind of novels I read, mostly. Mostly.

Simon C. Larter said...

I've got a soft spot for stories about nemeses and the downfall of said nemeses. That said, it's not exactly what I write (though I think I should start). I write literary fic because those are the stories that come to me. I also will more than likely branch out into fantasy lit, because I've read WAY more than my share of that and love when it's done well, and probably steampunk, because it's just COOL!

But I think I might write that nemesis downfall story after all. It'd be so like real life, it'd kind of write itself, don't you think?

Amalia T. said...

I write a weird hybrid of fantasy and historical fiction. Historical Fantasy? Is that a real thing? The thing is, I don't read a lot of fantasy. Epic Fantasy kind of makes me feel like I wasted my day-- it has no real substance beneath the world building for the sake of the world building stuff. I love Heinlein's science fiction though, because he's addressing real world social issues, and that's what I want from my fantasy too, I guess. Sooo maybe that's why I write it, to give myself the kind of fantasy I want to read? Ever since I started writing historical fiction, I've found myself drawn to reading it more and more. What I write seems to control what I read, more than what I read controlling what I write :)

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

My first novel attempt was YA, not just because I liked to read it, but because I think my voice plays well to that type of story. However, when I was writing it, I found myself way more interested in writing the romantic thread than the paranormal/suspense part. Plus, things kept getting a bit too sexy for a teen book, lol. So I realized I was better suited to adult contemporary romance. I haven't given up on YA, but for now I'm sticking with the romance.

As for what I like to read, I still love YA and all types of romance, but I also enjoy suspense, horror, and mystery.

JEM said...

I let the story develop itself and then decide which genre it would fit best in. I don't like to hold myself to a genre (which I've written about before), but I recognize the advantages of selecting a genre to cast the most strategic net for your writing.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

I am with JEM completely.

DL Hammons said...

I actually don't recall if it was a conscious thought. I had a story I just had to write, it turned out to be mystery/suspense. I've stuck with it ever since.

Sierra Godfrey said...

I am loving these comments! (Except the nemesis'.)

Yvonne -- we'll have to continue this discussion of chick lit and women's fiction and why chick lit is seen as a lesser genre.

Meika -- thanks for commenting and glad you write it you can see from the comments there's not a lot of us. (Among readers of this blog!)

Simon -- please make sure the story is about YOUR downfall and ME winning. la la la!

JEM and LT, I like your approach too even though I already know what I'm writing. (and am happy with it)

Don -- I love your comment, and it shows from your writing for sure!

Tahereh said...

blame edward. he wooed me with his sparkles and i was sold.

YA is my world now.


Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I always thought of Kingsolver as more lit fic than women's fiction. I think that often the line is very thin and that many genres can cross over into literary fiction.

I used to claim I wrote lit fic, but I'm leaning more toward clutching onto a woman's fiction label -- perhaps there is broader appeal there?

I love to write about families and issues and moments that are mundane and sort of ordinary -- not huge big sweeping plots. I think that A. Tyler is the master of writing about the oridinary family strife and making it SING. I want to make something ordinary sing someday. :)

Meghan Ward said...

I'm writing a memoir because I had a story to tell. I read literary fiction and dream of writing literary fiction and yet only come up with ideas for nonfiction books. So once this memoir is SOLD, it'll be interesting to see what happens next - whether I'll go with nonfiction or take the topics I'm interested in and transform them into short stories and novels.

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