Friday, September 26, 2014

Genre and writing

Picking a genre can be an extremely difficult task. Especially when you are trying to submit to an agent for publishing. It is a crucial element that can make the difference between an agent requesting a partial or full request to simply rejecting it out right without even glancing at the manuscript.

So where does one go when choosing a genre? I looked at this for a very long time and struggled with some type of answer. I was at the Midwest Writers Conference not long ago and spoke with numerous authors who had several answers. The generic answer was always, choose one. However, when the discussion went further, I could see the frustration in most writers eyes. Each of us have more than one element in our stories.

I like to compare my stories to Stephen King. Is he a horror writer? Perhaps in the beginning he was, but some of his more recent and extremely successful novels such as 11/22/63 are more of a thriller. I looked up his genre and found him listed as a horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy writer. This is exactly where I would place my novels, but there is a problem. I am no Stephen King.

Pick one genre.

So I need to make a choice. I write some pretty creepy books, but would I compare them to an Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer? The answer is an absolute no. And both of those writers are so different. Anne Rice writes some pretty spooky stuff, while Stephanie Meyer writes more of a fantasy love triangle thing. My books are not the slasher type of novel that most seem to associate with a horror novel.

I contemplate taking out horror as a genre.

Then there was adventure or a thriller. I am inclined to believe that this is more where my books are leading, but there is still that creep element that I cannot avoid. I would love to compare my writing style to Michael Crichton who has definitely influenced some of my work. Perhaps Jurassic Park was something similar to my writing, but he is very technical and I am not. There is a difference in our writing. He is not a horror writer.

Damn, I wish I was Stephen King! Then again, I am happy with my own style of writing.

There are elements of science fiction and fantasy in my latest novel, Wyoming. The story has aliens and flying saucers, but I wouldn't go so far as to compare the book to any sci-fi writers I know. Well, there is Ray Bradbury, who is a huge influence on what I write. In fact, I was hoping to write a post specifically about him because he has influenced my style in so many ways. He is humorous and very deep with his own life's lessons that I can totally relate. Still, I cannot say my writing would be science fiction.

My writing has taken some turns in the fantasy world. I have written about completely new worlds and dream of better places. Another influence has been JRR Tolkien, but my writing is definitely not his. I did write about caves and I do have a fascination with the world and things we cannot understand. I could compare one of my journeys inside the caves to Bilbo Baggins inside the Misty Mountains.

And then there is Elvis.

Where would I place a novel that has a quirky Elvis Presley fan? I guess that is only a character, but there is so much more involved. This genre choice is so difficult. It leads me to one choice, of which I hope an agent seeking my books will at least give me a chance. I believe there is quite a few agents out there who will agree once they have read my book, Wyoming.

I have researched many literary agents requests and found that some of them would like to see a writer who blends several categories into one. Is this a trick question? I tell myself, be careful! Stay with one genre, but if you ask me in secret what my genre is? I would tell you, mine is a mixture of horror, suspense, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy.

I am no Stephen King.

I am George M Moser.

Let's make it simple. My genre is adult thriller.