To each his own

Posted: March 7, 2013 by R. A. Gates in Ruth's Words
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There are as many reasons to write as there are writers. Some write to educate or enlighten. Others write to entertain. Story telling is a diverse art which has spawned all sorts of different genres from mysteries to urban fantasy, splatter punk to romance. And, thank goodness for writers, there is an audience for any kind of story the mind can conceive.

Is one genre better than another? Are thought provoking tales that relay a moral message above fun and campy stories? Is one writer better than another based on why they write? Does it matter that there are already thousands of similar books on the market? Is there no room for one more?

Recently, I was told that my story was “generic as hell” and felt like “a bad PG movie” because “faerys are lame main characters.” I felt like the worst hack alive because according to this person, I wasn’t unique enough and wasn’t taking my responsibility as a writer to educate the masses seriously. After a weekend of doubting myself, I got angry. Angry at myself for letting one person’s opinion have more weight than my own.

So what if there are already tons of books just like mine. Obviously, there is a large audience for such stories or there wouldn’t be so many—and a lot of money to be made. The great thing about being an author is that we can all share readers. I love reading the type of stories that I write, that’s why I write them. There are enough sales out there for everyone.

I will continue to write my story the way I want it, regardless if some think it is generic as hell. I know it is special and there are readers out there who will love it. Will I ask this person to read my writing again? Probably not. Some people just can’t separate their personal taste to offer subjective criticism. But thankfully, I have many wonderful writers around me who can be objective and helpful even if they don’t necessarily like my genre.

  1. Awesome post! And thanks for sneaking a splatterpunk reference in there :). As someone whose genre is not well loved by most and often comes with a bit of stigma, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time worrying about what others might think about me and my writing. Finally, as you’ve just done, I get around to saying, “Screw’em,” and write whatever the hell wants me to write it.

  2. sryeager says:

    Haters be hatin’

    Don’t fall into their trap. If what you wrote was like “a bad PG movie,” doesn’t that imply you sold your story to someone who thought it was good enough to turn into a movie?

  3. Good for you! Don’t listen to people who try to drag you down. Every author needs constructive criticism, but this doesn’t sound like that.

    Everyone looks for something different in a book, and no book is going to make everyone happy. I remember in college, there was a big trend of dislike for anything “genre”–everything had to be literary and deep and insightful (which, for the record, I think “genre” books can be). I was delighted to find out that once you get into the real world, the first thing anyone wants to know is what genre you write!

    Your story isn’t generic–it’s just tapping into a long tradition and one which, as you say, has a lot of fans!

    Anyone who feels faerys are lame main characters…well, there’s clearly no point in giving further attention to anything else they say about your story!

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  5. K D Blakely says:

    Thank goodness!!!!

    I read to be entertained, and I am very entertained by your writing!

    I’ve always been grateful for the incredible variety of stories I am able to choose from, and would be extremely frustrated if the only books available were designed to teach me the ‘best’ way to talk or think.

    And you’re right, the reason there are so many ‘generic’ mysteries, fantasies and horror stories is because there’s a huge market for them.

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