Today you will be entertained by a fellow blogger, another A.M. who refers to me as other A.M. And no, another and other A.M. is not any of my extra personalities. This is a guest post as promised in my last post—Riding the Wave, so without further ado, A Novel Perspective welcomes guest blogger, A.M. Schultz.
It’s never been easier for anyone to become a writer than it is today. Really, it’s a quick-punch, instant ticket to supreme coolness. You work a crummy 9-5 job, or a minimum-wage weekend gig? It’s cool, because you are a writer. A month of moderate effort, and you could be sitting on the next big potential vampire saga, or fantasy series, or horror story. Or you could be driving yourself batty trying to find a new take on a genre that is already beyond cluttered.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of the terminology gets muddled and wires get crossed—I’ve found myself trying to taxonomize the different genres, which have almost become ambiguous due to trends. There’s erotic fiction, romance, paranormal romance, occult romance, and so on. A couple powerhouses strike it big in a sub-genre, and within weeks, there are knockoffs, parodies, and a thousand new submissions that are more stale and flavorless than gas station-brand tortilla chips. There’s a ton of paint-by-number recreations out there, and I think the “art” of writing is being compromised by the money-driven genre gluttony.
Seriously, how many books are out there by first-time authors that have been directly influenced by Twilight? 50 Shades of Grey? Two franchises, THOUSANDS of knock-offs. Throw in Hunger Games and Game of Thrones (yes, Game of Thrones, because the show is PHENOMENAL), and there are thousands more.
That said, these are the major markets right now. YA is huge. Paranormal is huge. Epic Fantasy is on the rise. Thrillers and Crime novels are, have been, and always will be big sellers. Some people truly love these genres, which is awesome. Others become slaves to the trends and bigger slaves to the numbers.
If your venture into writing is solely based on bringing home the bucks, then yeah, stick to what people are definitely reading. The ones who write it well, market it well, and churn out book after book without a break will rise to the top. They’ll pay some bills, maybe take a nice vacation, and carve a niche for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that if the venture is taken seriously.
However, for the writers who struggle for months trying to shoe-horn a vampire into a story that doesn’t really require a vampire (see me, June-August 2012), then maybe genre is not for you. Or a particular genre is not for you. You can’t write convincing fiction without real passion.
For me, the genre-scene is all muddy water. I never considered myself a “horror” writer, but my short stories are tending to drift into that territory, and I’m totally fine with it; however, I don’t label myself a “horror” writer, or a “satire” writer, or a “comedy” writer—the limitations do more harm than good sometimes. Let your audience decide what you are. If you write about vampires who play hop scotch while eating yard gnomes while training for the Olympics, let that be “your” genre.
Ultimately, I think the goal of every writer should be to CREATE a demand for their product. If your desire is to write about three-armed monkeys, then write the best story you can about three-armed monkeys and give people a reason to buy into the new genre. Make your three-armed monkey story the Twilight-esque catalyst that fills up an entire row of shelves at Books-a-Million in three years with knock-offs.
Write the story you are meant to write, not the one you think you are expected to write.
A.M. Schultz is a student, pseudo-scholar, writer, closet-nerd,
and philosophy junkie. Predicted to become either a college professor, a full-time author, a part-time Buddhist, a selective pescatarian or a total recluse, he enjoys sporadic fits of writing in between meditation sessions, kickboxing workouts, Greek yogurt/sushi indulgences, drooling over the works of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, scribbling in his Moleskine notebooks, preparing to battle the dreaded GRE, underachieving and spontaneously traveling across the eastern United States in search of high adventure and low-country cuisine. He is set to release two novels in early 2013: RING GIRL in January, and CUSS April.
Thanks for reading. When A.M. is not busy working on custom book covers and other stuff, he can be found unleashing his ever-witty, informative insight on writing at his HEADSPIT blog http://amschultz.com
A.M. Schultz shared his perspective. Now, share yours!