…and does it really matter?
I’ve been puzzling lately about what genre I write. The form I choose is usually short story or flash fiction, but the genre?
Writers are a bit like flowers, unfurling their polished prose or poetic petals in a bid to attract a passing bee.
So why do we need to classify what type of flower we are?
When I’m writing I don’t think it matters at all. I am madly trying to get down on paper the story that desperately needs telling, here and now, by me and me alone, before the ideas fly away.
And we’re always told that writers shouldn’t compare themselves with others – that way lies crippling self doubt, the famous impostor syndrome and the total catalepsy of writers block.
But what about when you’re ready to send your precious oeuvre out into the world and move from being a ‘writer’ to a (published) ‘author’?
Does genre matter then?
It’s what the world of blogging calls a niche – and according to all the self-made internet entrepreneurs I’ve read about, every blogger needs a niche. Over on my food and travel website Rosemary and Pork Belly I’ve been resisting the niche for years (if we do have a niche then it’s cake!)
But if your work is ever to be published, ever to sit on a bookshelf with an alluring and attractive cover, hinting at what the reader will find within, then yes, genre matters.
By process of elimination I have finally decided what genre I write.
I write about life. Just not my life.
So it’s not biography.
I write about the here and now.
So it’s not historical fiction.
It’s about ordinary people – most of the time – without any magic powers.
So it’s not fantasy.
There’s plenty of emotion, but no hearts and flowers.
So it’s not romance.
And I have no more than a passing interest in science
So it’s not sci-fi.
I know my genre now. What’s yours?