Genre, What Genre?

Totally necessary or waste of time?
Totally necessary or waste of time?

I wrote last time about how some people want to pigeon-hole you, or even how you may feel the need to pigeon-hole yourself depending on what you do, wear, watch read and listen to. Unfortunately for writers, there is an added area where some people are not at all happy and comfortable unless they’ve shoved and stuffed you into a pigeon-shaped hole. This particular hole is not only pigeon-shaped but genre-shaped too.

“What genre do you write?” is a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion. I wish people wouldn’t because I don’t know how to answer them. I am able tell people what I don’t write. I don’t write sci-fi or historical fiction or crime or thrillers or romances. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of these genres. I’ve read countless books in all and enjoyed most of them. It’s just my story telling, and I’m suspecting many other writers’ too, doesn’t fall into an easily pigeon-holed category.

The lack of an answer doesn’t go down well with the person asking the genre question either. They push and probe until, at last, they shake their heads, puff out their cheeks and look at you as if you are some sort of pathological liar who can’t possible have ever written anything in your life if you can’t even identify which genre it fits into.

Funnily enough, it isn’t other writers that want to do this. In fact, other writers have never asked me what genre I write. This could be because they are too busy with their own writing to be interested in what I’m doing. Or, maybe, the don’t see why it matters. Because it doesn’t. You write what you feel and everyone else be damned.


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