Saturday, 3 November 2012

Written with love and care

A couple of weeks ago, Jim Murdoch wrote an interesting post about genre in books and literature. It was a really interesting post about a subject that I also think a lot about.

I have to say, this whole genre things confounds me quite a bit. Why do we feel that we have to put our stories into various little boxes which define what they are?

I know, there's a pretty good answer to that - it helps people understand what the story is about when they're selecting books to buy. And hey, doesn't it make sense to make things as clear as possible for the buying public? Don't we want to make it easy for them to determine that a book is for them or not? When put that way, it seems to make complete sense. And maybe it goes some of the way to explaining why my sales are not exactly setting the world on fire (yes I can admit it - I'm not moving a lot of books at the moment).

To me, it seems like a bit of a double-edged sword. Maybe I could move into the world of more conventional genres. Maybe I could write a cosy mystery, or a science-fiction adventure or a high fantasy - something I could put a label on and market in a relatively straight-forward way. Move right into the mainstream.

But I figure if I do that, I may be in the mainstream but I'd also be moving into a place that is much more crowded, and within which it would be much harder to differentiate myself.

That's why, for now anyway, I'm happy to stay in a place that is relatively uncrowded. True, it can be difficult for people to discover this place for themselves, but that's still the way I prefer it.

Because when it comes down to it, it's like this. I don't have a lot of time to write. I'm lucky to be able to steal half an hour after a busy day at work. In order to motivate myself to make this time, I have to be working on a story I really care about. And the stories I care about are the odd ones, the strange ones that don't necessarily fit into clear categories.

So that's why at least in the immediate future, you won't see me plugging my stories within most recognised genres. But hopefully, if you read one of them, you'll see the love and care that went into it.