In Search of a Genre

April 18, 2010

Early readers and reviewers of Let’s Play Ball seem confused by its lack of a clear-cut genre. Seems it would be easier to “get” if the novel knew from the start exactly what it was─chicklit, or crime mystery, or baseball tale, or political satire, instead of dabbling in all of these.
So what is it, really? I got somewhat nailed for failing to allow the main characters, two squabbling fraternal twin sisters, to be the ultimate crime-solvers. But at least they tried─and in the process, they more or less settled their own conflicts. So I guess that makes the book more chicklit than crime mystery. Plus, there are catfights galore among some highly-placed political women.
So admittedly, it gets a bit confusing. But isn’t life like that?

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6 Responses to “In Search of a Genre”

  1. shobasadler Says:

    Thanks for this eye-opener. I thought I was the only one with these thoughts. I have shifted around categories a few times because I don’t quite fit into the typical romance category as it is more literary than the mass produced romances out there and more drama than the same. So thanks for this. It has inspired me to resist being fit into the mould. My marketing strategies might suffer but who cares. It is more liberating to be true to yourself than follow market dictates.

    • lgould171784 Says:

      Well said. I’ve also had difficulties with marketers who are too quick to pigeonhole our writing. My own “chicklit” style doesn’t quite lend itself to the romance genre because I always seem to resist the neatly tied-up happy ending.

  2. shobasadler Says:

    Reblogged this on Shoba Sadler and commented:
    I thought Linda’s post called In Search Of A Genre here is worthy of a mention as it has inspired me to make some changes to the way I label my writing. Labelling has nothing to do with writing but everything to do with marketing. I will post something on category placement of books soon!


  3. The marketers want you to stay in a genre that’s tidy because they want you to buy their services – which assume mystery readers only read mysteries. Stupid assumption, but it’s there.

    I learned from Dorothy L. Sayers to mix mystery with a beautiful love story, so I was protected against the limitations early.

    I’m sure some of her readers hated the development, over four books, of the personal side. Tough cookies – those are my favorites.

    • lgould171784 Says:

      Some genre writers, like Sayers, really know what they’re doing. As I’ve noted before, the best writers don’t feel bound by rules.


      • She started with straight mystery, and a somewhat pompous Lord Peter. What she did with that still takes my breath away. Then she went on to write theology! People change – and grow – if they start young when they write. I wonder what will happen to me.

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