Monday, December 10, 2012

One Writer's Dilemma: What genre does my book fit in?

I'm sure you've read it too, for each submission to an editor or agent: 
"specify the genre of your work."

Wait, what?

But my work combines the awesomest tidbits of each genre.
 How can I specify just one?

Then you read in red, bold font: 
If submission guidelines are not followed we will toss your submission into the burning flames of hell and blacklist your name...

Well, maybe it doesn't quite say that. 
But that's what it feels like!

I mean, there are some books which fall right into a specific genre. 

Cut and dry, mystery, thriller, romance, action/adventure, etc, etc, etc. 

But my favorites, 
they always seem to mix genres.

You know what I mean. 

"The Hunger Games": sci-fi, action/adventure, romance.

"The Night Circus": mystery, suspense, fantasy.

"The DaVinci Code": mystery, thriller, suspense, a little SF, religious, historical


And don't judge me for loving The Hunger Games...

Moving on:

Maybe it's the science geek in me, but I like to view a book in terms of it's genetic variation, that is, its mixing of genres...

Now you may ask: What the....?

Let me explain. 

What does genetic variation give us? 
Strength in our genetic code. 
It's the reason why we don't procreate with our first cousins (yuck) 
or closer family members (double yuck)

Because we wind up with creatures like this:

Like the genetic code ideas become short when we limit ourselves

They take on a boorishness that we can expect, that we can predict
and as a reader, that's not fun.

For example, 
take the Pug dog

Super cute, short snouted puppy

But the truth is, it's inbred, and any purebred breed hosts a variety of genetic diseases and disorders, leading to a short life and an untimely death.

The same goes for strict genre barriers. 

Yes it's a mystery, yes it's good, but that's it, I'm going to forget about it not long after I've read it. 

Now, let's look at the mutt.

Some are cute, some are ugly.

Take Stevie... 

she's a mutt, well, actually she's a shepadoodle, 
and she's one of the best dogs I've had the pleasure of knowing
(PS I love you Stevie!!)

You know what's great about a mutt? They have great genes, nature remixes all those phenotypes, cuts out all those mutations from years of retarded variation... and what do you get? 
Great Health and longevity


The words on those pages will grow old and wrinkle up in the depths of your brain so you can enjoy the memories of having read that awesome book forever.
Much like the skin on an old man...

Truth be told, I'm over it, I'm all for blending genres..

I'm all for genetic diversity.

So why limit yourself.
Buy a mutt, buy a genre blending novel, you'll be happy, it wont suffer from the downfalls of inbreeding. It will be smart and funny and linger in your life for years to come.

Crossbreeding works well in nature, so why not in book genres?

Oh wait, it does...


I defy you submission guidelines!

Does this make sense? 
Because I'm sure it's mostly wine talking...


  1. Yes, I would like some wine, thank you very much...

    Mine goes into the spy thriller- counterterrorism genre, but there's a healthy mix of history placed into the narrative too, so it's kind of unique in and of itself.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.