30 Days of Writing–Day 8: Favorite Genre

Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower

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First week down and second week kicks off with:

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

Favorite novel-length genre to write is anything with a romance in it:  romantic suspense, romantic comedy, paranormal romance and even my latest WIP, an urban fantasy, has a strong romantic element to it.  But there are rules to romance, as much as I hate to say it.  The number one rule is the girl gets the guy in the end for a happily ever after or at least happy for now ending.  If she doesn’t, you can’t call it a romance.  That’s one reason why my current WIP is now urban fantasy.  (Sorry Dori fans.)

Romance keeps me writing, holds my interest, because, let’s face it, writing a novel can be very tedious at times, especially when editing.  If I’m going to have to read something a hundred million times, it had better be made of stuff I really, really like.

For short stories, anything goes. I’ve written science fiction, humor, romance, horror, spiritual, mystery, and erotica.  My inspiration shows no particular genre preference, with the exception that I’ve yet to write a western, high fantasy or historical piece.  It’s shameful I’ve not written anything historical since I do love to read historical romances.  The reason is simple–I’m lazy, too lazy to research period clothing, manners, language and social mores.  I’d be far too likely to have a heroine saying things like, “Oh my God, that like totally sucks you ran into Lord Easterly while wearing last season’s hat.  But maybe he was too busy trying to sneak a peek at your ankles to notice.  Tee hee.”

As for reading, I have two types of books I like–escapist pleasure and water cooler reads.  The purely pleasurable reads are the ones that make you feel good, stick with you for a week or two, maybe even inspire the odd daydream, but are mostly forgotten with in a few months.

Water cooler reads are the books people are rave about–Oprah’s picks, Pulitzer Prize wannabes, books about to be made into movies.  Many are literary fiction, but others are simply pop phenomena.

Here’s my shorthand guide for distinguishing between the two types of reads and determining the publisher’s aspirations for a novel.  I flip to the back cover and look at the author’s picture.  If she looks gravely serious, someone thinks or hopes the book will be the critics’ darling.  If the author looks like she’s tickled pink you’re even considering buying her book or she’s affected a pose in keeping with the book itself (a la Nora Roberts in her long black coat and turtleneck when she’s detective writer JD Robb), it’s a fun read and she’s laughing all the way to the bank.  That’s the kind I don’t have to force myself to crack open.  No offense to the literary / critically acclaimed types, they usually ARE good, but often I have to work with them to get to the point where I’d tell my co-worker at the water cooler it’s a must read.  Book clubs and Oprah pick these novels to read and discuss, not the pleasure books, though I wish they would lighten up a little.  Maybe more people would read Oprah’s picks if they knew Oprah and crew might spend a good chunk of time discussing Lord Easterly’s roguish attempts to seduce the virginal Lady Blacker.

Me, when I sell my first book, I want a big ol’ picture of me laughing, yes laughing, with my head cocked to the side and my hands thrown up in the air in a giddy “whee!” gesture.  I want it air-brushed to make me look twenty years younger, my waist nipped in, teeth whitened, cleavage enhanced, hips shaved down, legs digitally altered to lengthen and slim them. Give me all that and I won’t even care if my hair is a bit wrinkled.

6 thoughts on “30 Days of Writing–Day 8: Favorite Genre

  1. I’m not sure if there is a specific name for the bittersweet ending brand of romance novel, but there are books which display non-conventional endings within the genre. The one which comes most readily to mind is Love Story, though I’m sure there are others…

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