I enjoy my science fiction and my fantasy. When I pick up a book (or these days download) in one of these genres I guess I know what I’m getting, I’m on safe ground. Also, as a writer if I stick to a genre I know where I’m going with my books. I know where they will “fit”. This is very much the case with the Bleak books and Project Noah. They are very firmly in the science fiction camp. There’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed writing them and from the feedback I’ve had people enjoy reading them.
The first book I published and whose sequels are written and waiting to be finalised (they occasionally nag at me to be published) is a little different. While still very much science fiction it has an element of fantasy in that I give a “scientific” reason for the existence of Fairies (you’ll understand if you read it).
However, although I’ve very much gone down the straight science fiction path recently it doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on the cross genre thing. As I mentioned in my last blog short story writing gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment and write outside your comfort zone. And if you download a copy of my collection (follow this link) you’ll see what I mean. There is science fiction, fantasy a little humour and everything in between. It was that experimentation that lead me to my Inspector Kirby and Harold Longcoat book which I will be publishing soon. This is a detective mystery story set in Northumberland with a difference.
As a reader I love books that surprise me, that take me in a direction I didn’t anticipate. Although there is some very good fantasy one of biggest criticisms I have of the genre is that there are an awful lot of books that are following a formula (and yes, many of those are successful). There are too many books, for me, where you can pretty much see where it’s going after the first chapter or two.
I know there are successful authors out there who do cross boundaries, whose books don’t fit neatly into a genre, Neil Gaiman being one of the best in my opinion, but I do wonder in the beginning how hard he found it to get published. Did people get his ideas? Did they think they would be commercial enough?
I believe one of the delights of being a self-publishing author is you have the freedom to cross those boundaries and experiment. You can write the stories you want to write. You can go where you want to go, in any direction. You don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations or formulas. You are not bound by someone else’s ideas of fitting into a genre. Hopefully as a writer if I’m having fun with what I’m producing the reader will enjoy it as well. The ultimate test of whether it works as a story is left to those who read it. So, go on, give it a go.
As always comments are welcome.