Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Genre Writing is More Difficult

Reading a recent interview with Kazuo Ishiguro regarding the persistent snobbery toward genre writing, I had to share that working within a specific genre is far more difficult than any other type of writing.

I have a lot of ideas that span several genres. It isn't so much that I am unable to focus them but that I do not care to. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel nor be original, the ideas simply spring from a combination of elements that interest me spanning several genres. I tend to resist the urge to classify them because genre writing is very difficult to do well.

You have to tread the tropes and motifs of the field without falling into cliche and without coloring too far outside the lines. At a certain level, technology is indistinguishable from magic. Recent archaeological discoveries prove that ancient humanity was far more technologically advanced than once believed, and for far longer. To these ends, one could mix and match elements from several genres without worrying too much about explaining how or why they exist. But to do so is kind of "cheating."

Being forced to slant the story into a specific genre, to the exclusion of others, is a far more difficult task. The most minor of missteps can entirely disrupt the readers' suspension of disbelief and while they expect certain motifs and themes to be respected, they are keenly aware when the author lazily relies on cliche to move his story along. You have to stay within the box while finding an original way to define said box.

I agree with Ishiguro that this kind of snobbery needs to end and challenge the most vociferous genre opponent to give it a shot before dismissing it.

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015

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