Genre

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Genre. Peter from Renegade Writers wrote about genre on FB today. I think my genre is ‘writing no one would actually want to buy’. I too do not particularly like the genre terms, it limits. I have found considerable pleasure and annoyance reading all sorts of writing; as with watching all sorts of films; listening to all sorts of music. I wouldn’t like to think I would write in any one genre or form of writing. Of course writing in a genre makes selling a book easier, people know what they are going to get, but I like the surprise.

I got Amy Sackville’s Orkney from the library just because it looked interesting and I had never heard of it or her. It is a wonderful book, beautifully written, quite magical and yet written in a very straightforward style. What genre was that, probably literary fiction, which sort of covers all serious writing. And yet, there are elements of mythology, fantasy, psychological torment, mystery.

The majority of really good writing is hard to pinpoint. Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy is a good case. It is fantasy, it has elements of horror, and yet has some of the finest writing and imagery of the twentieth century. To put it in the same genre as say Game of Thrones is an insult. So it is beyond genre and just literature, as I feel all writing should be judged by.

Interestingly, in my opinion, Game of Thrones has made excellent silly TV but I felt the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast was dreadful. Perhaps poor quality writing works better in visual terms. I’m sure many of you reading this would disagree.

The most important thing is to write an interesting story without thinking what genre it should be, if it is interesting it doesn’t matter. Look at the Hilary Mantel books on Cromwell. On the face of it written in the much maligned Historical Fiction genre, yet very fine writing which opens up the Tudor period and history in a far more accessible and understandable way than any work of history could.

Today’s photograph is of the remains of the snow drift in my garden, the roses starting to bud through the snow. Taken on a bright cold windy day at 2.30pm.

 

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