Amused Authors

Breaking the Box by Kathleen
January 3, 2009, 4:35 pm
Filed under: fiction, romance, writing | Tags: , ,

I’d like to encourage everyone who reads genre fiction to stop.

Okay, that sounds really counterintuitive, doesn’t it? And in fact, I would never tell anyone to stop reading. Ever. In fact, I don’t think you read enough. I don’t care who you are, we can all read more! And as a person who writes and sells and lives and breathes genre fiction, how can I tell you to stop reading it?

Well, it’s simple. It’s not the word ‘fiction’ that bothers me. It’s that other word. Genre. I know that marketing conventions require us to fit our work into these little boxes. A box marked romance, a box marked fantasy, to that Tolkien and Danielle Steele don’t end up on the same shelf and confuse the poor muddled reader. Writers, publishers, editors and marketers are pretty much stuck with that, for now (although there is some encouraging evidence that the lines are blurring).

However, as readers, I think we must actively work to erase those lines in our reading. There is much that can be learned by going outside your genre! Learning how the mystery writers do it can improve your romance. Deciding that mainstream fiction is not your bag cuts out so many wonderful authors that you might learn a great deal from.

Confession time, folks: I spent most of my life believing that romance was the lesser genre. That it was formulaic, overly sentimental, and allowed a much lower standard of writing excellence than science fiction, mystery or mainstream. (Imagine my chagrin when I found out I’d written one!) Now, can you guess how much romance I’d read, when I still held this opinion? You got it: not much.

Break the boxes, move outside your genres, and discover the worlds that are waiting for you.

Kathleen –


2 Comments so far
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You make a good point, Kathleen. I have to admit I rarely explore other genres outside my old favorites. If I did that more often maybe I’d discover something new and surprise myself by enjoying it as much as the old!

–Dara England

Comment by dara11

Good posting…cheerr
If you want to know how to be romantic

Comment by scothanura

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