Genre talk

If there is one thing this blog has taught me, it is that our readers take on a wide range of genres in their writing.  Just in the comments section alone I’ve seen readers talk about the thriller, historical romance, or young adult novel they’ve been working on.

So that led me to wonder what genres in particular our readers enjoy reading, as opposed to writing. Of course, the person writing an urban fantasy novel must undoubtedly be reading as much urban fantasy as they can get their hands on in order to fully study the genre.  But it’s admittedly interesting and also surprising to hear the outside interests of our readers.  I know there’s a horror writer somewhere out there who loves those romance novels!

So my question to you today is: firstly, in what genre do you write? And secondly, when you do read outside of your genre, what are your favorites?

9 Responses to Genre talk

  1. Jenni Wiltz says:

    Good question! I’ve been wondering about other writers’ experience with this issue, too, mostly because I’m all over the map.

    In terms of writing, I write what I want, when I want: my first book was a historical paranormal (not romance), my second was a mystery, my third was a thriller, my fourth was a category romance. I’m not sure if this is normal or not.

    In terms of reading, I like historical fiction, although lately I’ve been disenchanted with it. (Too many incarnations of the Tudors, Austen rewrites, or overly familiar figures such as Eleanor of Aquitaine.) Instead, I’m longing for something sharp, witty, gritty, dark, modern, and dangerous but not paranormal. I just don’t know what that might be. Any suggestions?

  2. Ciara says:

    Outside of my genre (contemporary ya) I am loving dystopian (like everyone else), I love light crime like Stephanie Plum, a little historical especially if it’s about the Salem witch trials ( I can’t get enough of that era) and some general fiction which I usually pick based on personal recommendations or prizes awarded.

  3. Lisa Marie says:

    I write contemporary, single-title romance, exclusively, so I also read a lot of it, too – it’s a must, so I can see how these books are constructed and what elements make for a best-seller. I look for contemporary romance novels with a very organic quality: believable plots set in realistic places and self-sufficient characters who are both likable and just a little bit flawed. The flinty-eyed tycoon MMC and model perfect MFC who needs to be rescued don’t cut it for me. ☺

    But I love-love-love suspense, thrillers and mystery novels. My mind cannot come up with clever whodunits, and I have tried my hand at writing these genres before only to find that I lack the imagination to pull it off. Books that keep me on the edge of my seat or make me afraid to turn off my reading light at night are a rare find.

  4. I write paranormal romance, and I enjoy reading it too (Lynsay Sands, Kerrelyn Sparks). But I’m also a huge Stephen King fan and love suspense and thrillers.

  5. I write middle grade. But I also love reading dystopia, YA, fiction, and historical. The only genre I don’t dabble in is Westerns. I don’t have a thing for cowboys.
    The last four books I read: The Ogre of Olgefort, Divergent (love), Beastly, and East of Eden.

  6. Phoenix says:

    I write mostly literary fiction, but I do sometimes venture into different genres too. I’m not a fan of being ‘labeled’ like this, though I suppose it’s necessary for authors to have a brand of writing so that their fans can know what to expect from them.

    When it comes to reading, I am all over the place. I’ll read anything that’s put in front of me. I’m a notorious stealer of books left out on coffee tables in my house.

    I read a lot of literary fiction, obviously, but when I need something lighter, I often go for fantasy, or sometimes even chick lit, though definitely not as often as I used to.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I write crime fiction. I enjoy some literary, some fantasy, some sci/fi dystopian ala William Gibson, upscale westerns ala McMurtry. Some nonfiction with no special area of interest, just whatever subject catches my attention.

  8. I write science fiction and fantasy (urban fantasy but also epic fantasy), but I read several other genres. My favorites are mysteries (sometimes cozies, but I’ll also go for period mysteries, or nice substantial contemporary mysteries such as Tana French or Julia Spencer-Fleming), and romance (specifically romantic suspense, some paranormal romance, and some period romance). Sometimes I’ll go into general fiction if the story sounds compelling, too.

    I don’t go out of my way for YA, but will check out particular YA novels that come across my radar if they sound awesome enough, which is how I discovered Carrie Ryan!

    Really, though, I worry less about genre and more about whether the story gives me the vibe that I’ll enjoy it. I tend to avoid dark, grim, and gritty these days–I’m very tired of unrelenting grittiness in stories. (Which is why I tend to avoid most horror, and a good chunk of urban fantasy these days, for that matter.)

    I like me some substance and drama, but I like it balanced out with upbeat emotional resolution at the end, at least enough to give the idea that the characters will have, if not a Happily Ever After, then at least a Happily For a While After the Story Stops. I also tend to avoid stories whose plots focus on which of however many supernatural love interests the heroine is going to sleep with; I very much prefer a storyline or series that’ll develop a relationship between two (or sometimes three) characters over many, many books. This makes me pretty finicky these days about both urban fantasy AND paranormal romance, since I prefer a lighter touch in romantic chemistry as well as overall atmosphere of story.

  9. Great question – I wish I knew what genre I write. Like Janet Evanovich, my novels fall somewhere in between mystery and adventure, spiced up with sexiness that could be romance if the protag ended up with the main romantic interest. (Or if she actually wanted to end up with anybody at all – she doesn’t.)

    I know that Stephanie Plum lives in the Mystery section at the bookstore, but I’d love some suggestions on what to call this genre when querying.

    I read: mystery, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, some YA, suspense, westerns, literary fiction, non-fiction of every stripe, blogs, shampoo bottles, and anything else that contains words. As a general rule, I don’t search out romance or horror, though I’ll read them if they happen to come my way.

    Ultimately, my choice is made by standing in the bookstore and reading the first chapter. If the characters grab me, I buy the book.

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