I read a lot of advice for writers, telling us to choose and stick to a genre, to learn about and know our audience, which makes sense. It’s handy to know who your target market is, thus enabling you to manipulate your novel, or poem, or whatever it is that you choose to write to suit the reader tastes.
In this respect, by choosing to write a thriller or suspense, the reader knows what to expect when coming across your book in that category on the bookshelf or that webpage.
But here’s the thing, should I be giving readers what they expect? Should I be sticking to a predetermined formula that sits nicely in my chosen genre?
This is what leads me to ask myself the question… ‘Am I writing my books backwards?’
When I finally sit down to begin work on the next project, after weeks if not months of random ideas floating about and colliding in my head, I’ll know how the story starts, and definitely know how it ends, also I’ll know a lot about the characters, their strengths and their flaws, but could I say without hesitation exactly what genre my book would fall under?
No, and here’s why…
My first two books, ‘Get Clean’ and ‘Son of a Serial Killer’ have been crime related, and as the plot progresses, more is at stake for everyone involved and sooner or later everything will come to a head if someone doesn’t save the day! In this respect, my books are a thriller, a very popular genre for readers and not a bad place to be as a writer.
But, I try to make all of my characters as real as possible, calling on personal experiences, times when I was happy or sad, excited or depressed. I hope I’m conveying these emotions through the pages clearly enough and they arrive as intended in the hearts and souls of my readers. In this respect, could I not label my books as dramas? They are certainly dramatic.
I’d like to think that I don’t give the plot away too early in my stories, and I occasionally throw in a curve-ball that will keep my readers guessing and sometimes render them stunned. Son of a Serial Killer follows two main characters, one of whom is a detective; does this make it a mystery novel?
Get Clean is a story based on my time in the south of Spain, many elements of the story are true to life, but it is far from a factual book or true crime. Also, it contains many elements of humour, giving a much needed break in the novel from the harsh realities of cocaine addiction; such is one of the obstacles the protagonist must overcome.
I guess I could always label my books as dramatic, contemporary thriller/mystery fiction novels, but I’m yet to come across that section in the bookshop.
In conclusion, speaking for myself as a writer, I feel it is important to just tell the story I want to tell. So far my novels are based in the real world, no sci-fi as yet, and because of this, my work will always include the highs and the lows, the problems and the solutions if there are any, the good and the bad, the serious and the funny.
And for you readers out there, maybe try a book that isn’t listed under you usual genre, you may be pleasantly surprised that the story isn’t as alien to you as you first thought.
By the way, my latest release is a satirical and farcical comedy entitled ‘Extremely England’, and you should buy it here…
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/13ir8sH
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/13vEk0D