Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Genre, Genre, Who’s Got The Genre ? :-)


Some folks think my book, Notes from An Alien, is a Sci-Fi novel. Thing is, one of the main characters thinks otherwise

So, let’s look at what can be learned by putting “science fiction genre defined” in Google [If your favorite genre isn’t Sci-Fi, hang on just a bit…]:

Wikipedia says: “Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting. Exploring the consequences of such innovations is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a ‘literature of ideas’.”

While there are some “innovations” in my novel, that isn’t the main theme by any means. Plus, “exploring the consequences of such innovations” misses the entire purpose of my book.

At least Wikipedia, a few paragraphs later, says: “Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes.”

As I checked down the list of sites on Google, I found similar statements of the difficulty in nailing down a definitive definition :-)

So, I plugged in “mystery” and found this, on the Mysterious Times site: “Every author, publisher, bookseller, reader, collector … probably anyone who reads mystery books! … maintains their own definition of what is a mystery and of the genres that comprise the category.”

O.K., how about Romance? Back to Wikipedia: After stating plainly that a romance novel “must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other” and “have an ’emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending’.”, then discussing a couple other “rules”, they say: “…there are also many books that are widely considered to be romance novels that deviate from these rules.”

Hmmm

If any of you go looking up other genres, would you let me know in the comments if you also found folks disagreeing on just what comprises them??

Next, I put “non-genre” into Google. And, surprise!, I found a popular Sci-Fi site, SF Signal, that had an article with various authors’ choices for influential non-genre books.

I also found a GoodReads page with a list of Popular Non Genre Fiction Books. Now, here’s a place I really hope you go investigate! I bet we could have some wild discussions about whether those books are all “non-genre” :-)

Back in February, I wrote a post called, What Is A Genre & Should You Try To Write In One? After trying to cover a number of differing views on the issue of genre, I ended up saying:

So the question of whether a writer should try to write in a particular genre could become completely moot. What matters most is good writing, creative writing; even writing that pushes hard against genres and rules and conventions–steps up to the literary plate and belts one out of the authorial park :-)

What are your thoughts and feelings about Genre??
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20 responses to “Genre, Genre, Who’s Got The Genre ? :-)

  1. Shaina Richmond June 8, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Alexander – as soon as I saw your sentence, “Thing is, one of the main characters thinks otherwise…” I knew I had to stop what I was doing and read your blog post. Excellent! I hate genre classifications. Thank God for self-publishing. You can live outside the lines. Cross over as many genres as you want. Be one genre in one section, and another genre in another section. Life doesn’t exist according to genres! I write erotica. I hope to write in other genres, but currently, it’s erotica. And I hate that. My readers tell me they don’t really consider it erotica. They say, “it’s erotica, but so much more.” The characters are intimate with each other. Yes. That’s what those characters wanted to do. And (this is going to sound ridiculous but it’s the absolute truth) I would betray them by glossing over that part of their relationship. But, because the series has those elements, it’s “erotica.” It’s also comedy, mystery, romance, drama… argh.

    Love your blog. Love it. :) Wish I had time to comment more often. I love your insightful thoughts and writings.

    Like

  2. Alexander M Zoltai June 8, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Thank you, Shaina, for those encouraging words–and, I don’t mean the ones about my blog; I mean: “Thank God for self-publishing. You can live outside the lines. Cross over as many genres as you want. Be one genre in one section, and another genre in another section. Life doesn’t exist according to genres!” :-)

    Like

  3. Karla Telega June 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

    There are a lot of very successful humorous murder mysteries out there, but you’d think that the two concepts would be contradictory. Both writers and readers are missing out if they stick to the strictest interpretation of genre elements. It seems like genre lines are blurring fast.

    Like

  4. Alexander M Zoltai June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Karla, you said: “Both writers and readers are missing out if they stick to the strictest interpretation of genre elements.”, and I couldn’t agree more.

    And, further
    To me, attempting to copy the genre-maestros is amateurish. The maestros are in their niche, they have it down, they are a force unto themselves; and, the cream of the MaestroCrop usually break genre rules anyway :-)

    Like

  5. Simone Benedict June 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I checked out the popular non-genre books list. If “Romeo and Juliet” isn’t in the romance genre, I’d put it there.

    It’s a great point. Who decides the genre? Personally, I think you, me and your readers should be placed as heads of the Genre Determination Board. ;-)

    Like

  6. Alexander M Zoltai June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    The GDB, eh?

    Then, my book is the definitive example of a Documentary Historical Science Fiction Note-Like Non-Novel :-)

    Like

  7. The Hook June 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s all about the writing. Don’t worry about the classification.

    Like

  8. Alexander M Zoltai June 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Yes, it is all about the writing–even if the book does fall naturally into some genre :-)

    Like

  9. Pingback: Genre needs to stop applauding crap, and respect its best writers « Damien G. Walter

  10. MrsWhich June 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Genre is a filter, the finer the filtering the more gets filtered out and the more homogeneous the results. Makes me think of this song by Blue October: Inner Glow http://tinysong.com/i3cS

    Like

  11. Alexander M Zoltai June 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Great to see you here in the Comments :-)

    And, what a good comment! I may have to quote you in a future post . . .

    Like

  12. MrsWhich June 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I”m happy to be quoted ;-) You can check out my writing project at http://holdonhope.ca/timeless/ where you will also find my real name.

    Like

  13. Alexander M Zoltai June 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Yes, Folks !! That lady above me is Cheryl Ives and her site is definitely worth a visit :-)

    Like

  14. MrsWhich June 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    ah, now you’ve outed me – I hope you’ll read…

    Like

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