Genre reading I’ve always felt injures books by forcing them into canned patterns that inhibits creative writing. By now genres and subgenres are a monstrous alligator that’s eaten up a large part of reader’s minds. And I’ve learned to be mindful of that and try to find ways to sidestep all that coded quicksand—what do the words “thriller,” “romance,” “dystopian,” and “coming of age” really mean, after all? Maybe not what you’d think—without letting the story be stifled. It’s quite possible. There are literally hundreds of subcategories within categories and it’s necessary to be very detailed about it because readers are getting that completely exact with their ideas of what each little category means.
Along the way I’ve learned to be as careful with "fake-history" as I would with a pan picked up out of the oven. “Fake-history” can include alternate history, reimagined events (such as what if England and Scotland had become separated during the Jacobite times and then you write a love story), or kingdoms that are clearly based on real countries but don’t use actual names or any actual history. True, it’s awfully tempting. You can just let your imagination fly and not be hampered by some boring twerp emailing you about a date or a use of slang. But fake history can easily obscure the story the most of any genre out there. In those cases, it's not a liberation at all. It’s a truly imaginary place where readers can pretend they’re reading a book they’re not and hide what they’re really getting out of it. A faintly historical-feel setting can be a delight, but it has to be done just right. Otherwise it just becomes a launching pad for dishonesty.
More about other genres in a later installment.
And there will be more updates.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.