03 Oct Writer’s Block: How to choose a writing genre
Often your story idea may dictate your choice of genre. This is why whenever I teach creative writing, I cover the different genres in the first class so students get a sense of where their idea will fit into the literary landscape. As part of this, it’s also helpful to identify the goal of your protagonist and see which genre that might best fit into.
Readers have different expectations depending on the genre. It’s like if you go and see an action movie and there’s no action, you’ll feel cheated. Similar to books, if you are writing in the romance genre, there needs to be a happy ending otherwise you’ve broken the contract with the reader. However in chick-lit the girl doesn’t have to end up with the boy, she can stay single and still be happy.
While there is a fair amount of genre-bending that goes on: mixing thriller with vampires and some humour, publishers prefer authors to stick to a known genre because they know how to sell that sort of story to that audience. I’ve regularly heard of authors being turned down because their books didn’t quite fit a genre.
Still, as a general rule, I encourage people to write what they really want to write rather than write to market. If you write what you love, you’re more likely to do it with passion — and that counts for a lot.