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Friday, June 15, 2012

Genre Fiction: Is this the way to success?

I have to be honest. I've been toying off and on for years with trying to find a genre that I like enough to want to write for it. I started a P.I. type novel that I grew bored with after a few chapters. I've wondered if Westerns would be something I'd like. No. I like Western movies, but not books. The Thriller is big today. The novel of suspense, I think. Some of these are so closely related and overlap that they could fall into more than one genre. But, whatever the genre--vampires, paranormal, sci-fi/dystopian--that's what sells today (that makes the NY Times bestseller list). Sure you have the occasional The Help. But they are really far and few between.

So, I ask myself over and over again: am I missing the boat? The only thing I write that even hints of genre is Historical Fiction. And I don't consider myself a Historical Fiction writer. I just happened to write a contemporary novel back in the 1970s that, by its evolving offshoot stories, moved back in time to WWI, The Great Depression, and WWII. And because it was never published until I self-pubbed one of the offshoots (Only The Lonely) until 2011, my 'contemporary' novel by default became an Historical novel, I guess. I don't think I've seen a true Historical novel on the best-seller list in a very long time. It's almost all genre fiction.

So, again, I ask myself: am I missing the boat? I majored in English in college. I grew to love Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Melville, Hemingway, Joyce, Yeats, Keats, Shelley, Thomas, and so on. I love great writing. I just came to realize one day quite a few years ago that I'm not a great writer. If I were, I'm sure I would have been published a long time ago. So, I'm just an average Joe of a writer. So why can't I find a genre to write in? Why is it so difficult? It's enough to make me want to scream sometimes. I guess I'll just continue on with what I've been doing. My books will never show up on the best seller list, assuming I can get published by one of the big six anyway (and being that I don't write for one of the well-known genres, that's not likely to happen either).

Do I care? Obviously, I do care. I wouldn't be writing this and pouring out my heart and soul like this if I didn't. The problem is how to find happiness in an unhappy world. The happiness comes in doing what you love irregardless of the outcome. If you love a certain genre and write in it, then you have a better chance of reaching the heights. Otherwise, you just have to be happy being yourself. And that isn't so bad, is it?
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