Someone asked me recently about the type of writing I do. Naturally, this got me thinking about genres. There was a point in time where all I wrote was fantasy and science-fiction, perhaps with a little bit of surrealism mingled in there. Then I went to college, and genre fiction such as that was frowned upon (despite offering whole classes about vampire literature…oh school; this was even before Twilight came out!), and so I trained myself to write more broad-based, genre-nonspecific pieces. It wound up being a good thing; I’m much better at writing every day sort of fiction that doesn’t dance its way into a particular genre like fantasy or sci-fi, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a better time with the genre stuff.
And then I realized that a lot of things I start writing as general fiction winds up taking on a genre bent. Lately, it’s been a lot of mystery leanings with supernatural touches. There was the January book that was very, “And suddenly, werewolves!” And I’ve been working a little more on February’s novel, which is straight-up fantasy, but it’s starting to take a murder mystery bent in the current scene. That, I feel, is entirely a case of “you write what you read” since I’m tackling a Grisham novel at the moment.
Ultimately, though, I think I’m finally getting past that young and easily influenced and eager to please university student phase and embracing my genre leanings more eagerly now. Quite frankly, it’s a silly thing to worry about. It’s one of those things where, if I come across a journal that specifically requests no genre fiction, I tend to just pass it over. Genre fiction can be good. Genre fiction that plays with the boundaries originally established for it and break them is even better. So I’m going to continue to embrace my zombie apocalypses, my werewolf noir, my space cowboys, and my high fantasy wizards and warriors. I’m still going to attempt to try a hand or two at “regular” fiction, too, but I just know they won’t pick up as much momentum in me as all that other stuff. And that’s okay.
Besides, the only thing I have published so far is technically regular fiction. So there will always be Communist China…