YA Highway – Choosing a Genre

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YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday Wednesdays mean ‘Roadtrip’ at YA Highway.  While the constraints of corporate life have prevented me very much lunchtime writing this week, I thought I’d squeeze in this quick post before heading into the weekend.

Click here to read this week’s YA Highway’s Roadtrip Wednesday post.

Let me begin by saying ‘My thoughts exactly!’ in response to a comment from Michelle Schusterman (YA Highway member) that it might be better to ask “how does your genre choose you?”

I’ve always felt that *trying* to write into a particular genre was a little like trying to write into a particular market.  Granted, writing and publishing is a business and there are times when writing into a current trend makes sense, especially if a writer is prolific.  For me, however, my writing time is very limited.  I lovingly chip away at my WIP during my lunch hour and on some late nights when I really should be doing something else, like sleeping.  I could never keep pace with a changing market, but even if I could, for me the story comes first.

As writers we hold certainly the ‘keys to the kingdom’.  The worlds in which our stories take place wouldn’t exist if we didn’t create them.  As such, we are at our liberty to influence story elements, like setting, to nudge (hopefully without shoving) our stories from one genre to another until we’re settled we’ve got it right.  There are no fixed *rules* when it comes to doing this, just accepted conventions, which experimental fiction is stretching all the time.  In fact, in the hands of a master, even something as basic as punctuation can be creatively reimagined and made to look like genius under the right circumstances.

As great example of this reimagining is a book I’m happily beta reading right now, ‘Glamour in Glass” by Mary Robinette Kowal.  It’s the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey (to be published by Tor in 2010).  While it’s not YA, I mention it because it’s a great example of someone who knows what she’s doing taking a genre in an unexpected direction.  Imagine a fantasy novel written by Jane Austen and that’s what you’ve got here.  Very cool!

So have fun with genre, whether you choose it or it chooses you, and just imagine the possibilities!

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