What’s My Genre?

24 Oct

Most of us have our reading and writing preferences shaped when we’re young. Personally, I was very lucky. While I lived in a really small town nowhere near a bookstore (or mall even), I had to generally rely on the library and the once a year book sale at the school for my books.

It was a one room library, but was run by one of the most amazing librarians ever. So what if each section of the library was actually only one bookshelf? It was packed — packed–with good stuff.

But, good stuff that was limited no matter how you look at it.

My librarian loved two things for young people: Realistic Fiction and light Traditional Fantasy.

Oh, what a surprise! I write contemporary fiction (the rom coms) and light TF… whoever would have seen that coming? *gasp*

But now, as an adult, every once in a while I read a book that just…forces a change of view. Makes me stop and think, Wow! I get it. I get why this genre is hot/big/passionately followed.

One of those books is Blood and Chocolate. I’ve talked about it before, but while I was thinking this week about my influences (I wasn’t just sitting around pondering myself, I’d been asked for a survey.. I swear!) I realized that my passion about my one paranormal idea all comes back to B&C. That book… wow. It’s done so right. I feel like it should be a guidebook of how to write paranormal.

And so, here I go, reading it again! This time with a marker and post-its.

I’d love to hear about your influences now and when you were younger – And about that book — that stone in the water book — that may have shifted your writing stream.

8 Responses to “What’s My Genre?”

  1. eritta October 24, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    When I was about ten years old, my mom asked a librarian for a good book for a teenaged girl (that was the level I was reading at). The librarian handed her “The Song of the Lioness” series by Tamora Pierce. It was pretty much all over right then and there, I’m a high fantasy writer.

    However, my favorite book to this day remains “Jurassic Park”. I’m not sure how it’s affected my writing, but I’m certain it has!

  2. briaq October 24, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I’m a HUGE Tamora Pierce fan. She’s a brilliant storyteller. I was also lucky to find her pretty early on 🙂

    Oh, and Timeline. That’s my Crichton book. It’s tattered.

  3. Socially Accepted Madness October 24, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I was always given a lot of historical fiction and similar work as a kid — the American Girl series, Dear America diaries, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, etc. My mother is a huge history lover and so am I, but interestingly enough, as an adult I haven’t written any historical fiction. I am, however, obsessed with using accurate historical detail in my work, and using historical allusions. I want to write HF some day, but I can’t seem to settle on one idea!

  4. briaq October 24, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    So what do you see from HF drifting into your own writing — if anything? Style or flow or themes? (see how nosy I am!)

  5. amethystgreye October 24, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Silly as it is, the first book to make me realize I not only was adept at ready but that i really ENJOYED ready was a Babysitter’s Club book, one about summer vacation. I flew through it, and then checked out more. After that, I became a pleasure reader, not just a highly-skilled reader.

    Like yours, my town was small and most of my personal library came from annual book fairs (even now I always insist my sons buy at least one book every year at their own BFs), which led me to buy a book by a local (Missouri, for me) author, Vicki Grove. GOODBYE, MY WISHING STAR proved moving and somewhat prophetic, as it’s about thirteen-year-old Jen, who suddenly must move away from her family home, a farm, and all she knows, including best friends. A year or so later, I had to do the same (ironically, my best friend’s name was Jen). The point being, that book played so literally into my life, but even before that, into my future as a writer. You see, I’d gotten to meet the author and have her sign my copy. I was about eleven, and it was a Big Deal.

    I started writing after reading–wait, hold the groans until I finish!–TWILIGHT, when I thought to myself, “Wait, you can write books for teens, and they can have fairy tale and horror story stuff in them? Dude, where do I SIGN UP?”.

    Then I spent three years trying to be like everyone else, which was a mistake, because no one is like everyone else. That’s just a surface perception. i fought with myself about how to be a writer like I am, until I read Franny Billingsley’s CHIME.

    It wasn’t that CHIME broke rules or anything, but like TWILIGHT taught be about the existence of YA, and more pointedly YA Paranormal, CHIME taught me the natural way I tend to write could be done with grace, poetry, strong emotion, and in my case, dry humor. Also? First person, present tense (stop flinching, Bria; I know you hate FPPT). It could all work beautifully, so I didn’t need to fight with myself. Me and myself, we could be buddies.

    THAT was a relief!

  6. Kat Cantrell October 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    LOVE the way you phrase it – “that stone in the water book”. For me, it’s the first Harlequin I read in the third grade, which I found in the book bin in our classroom. (They were so tame back then!) I don’t really remember it at all except that it was the requisite boss-secretary trope, however, I think the critical thing for me was the idea that it was a Real Book.

    Therefore, I grew up reading romance and always intended to write it, no question. If I hadn’t read it, I don’t know what I would have ended up stumbling through. Probably high fantasy – which I cannot write – as that was my go-to genre as a reader for a looooong time. Thank goodness for that HQN because might not have found my niche…

  7. abby mumford October 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    this has been really interesting to think about. my early reading experiences were all about for fun, so that’s when i decided i wanted to be a writer so that i could give that experience to someone else, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that i’ve come into my genre.

    reading the HARRY POTTER books made me realize that MG/YA is socially acceptable, so i could stop hiding that’s what i love to read and write. IF I STAY made me want to punch my readers in their emotional guts. and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE showed me the type of writing i want — straightforward, easy, honest, exaggerated emotions.

  8. briaq October 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    OMGOSH Katrina! I can’t believe they had HQNs in your elem. school LOL – I’m horrified at the awesomeness!

    @abby mumford – Wow Abby, you really have thought that through a bit. Maybe I need to do a more indepth study of me!

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