I have a bad habit. Well, they tell me it’s bad. I have a tendency to slip between genres, sometimes within the same story. My stories can be spec fic chick lit, or horror-fantasy. What’s worse is that some of my stories stray completely away from spec fic genre altogether and are just plain stories.
The belief out there in writer-world is that writers, particularly new writers, are not meant to do this.
Oddly this ‘rule’ does not seem to apply as much to other artistic pursuits. It is acceptable for a movie maker like James Cameron to come up with a movie about killer robots (Terminator), followed by movie about killer aliens (Aliens) then a love story on a sinking ship (Titanic) and a spy thriller comedy (True Lies). William Goldman writes a western (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and then creates a comedy-fantasy (The Princess Bride) and no-one bats an eyelid.
Even the heaviest of the heavy metal bands have at least one ballad on their album. So why is it writers of books or short stories are told to stay within the box of their first successful publication?
Fortunately the cross-genre novel is starting to get a customer base of its own thanks to novels like ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ (literary science fiction romance) and many of Margaret Atwood‘s books (literary science fiction). However there is still the problem about which shelf to find them on in the book shop or library.
I don’t know what the answer is, but there are a couple of sessions at Aussie Con 4 (which starts this Thursday) that will be addressing this topic, along with about a million other topics. If you haven’t got your tickets or booked your time off work yet, do so now. Aussie Con 4 is the 68th WORLD science fiction convention and it will be a great place for any writer –spec fic, new or otherwise.
So if you see me at one of the sessions, be sure to come and say hello! And let me know what your opinion is of writers who slip through the genres!