Personal Philosophy: Why This Genre?

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Outsiders tend to group “writers” in one big pack. But there are many types of writers. But writers are selective in what they write – usually just a few forms. Knowing your reasons for writing these genres and styles can help you keep going or know when it is time to change.

Define your genre(s). You might have thought a lot about what genre(s) you would write in and whether you should branch out or cross genre lines. Or maybe the decision was obvious to you. Either way, you reached your decision in part because of how you defined that genre. Not the market definition – your definition. A definition provides important guidelines for your writing. For instance, I believe fantasy is the literature of ethics, is a truer version of reality and also what our minds “wish might be”.

Identify its potential. How you define your genre gives some insight into its appeal but also consider what you want to do with your genre. I love the familiar-yet-strange characters, settings, and world-building of fantasy (a standard). I enjoy innovative use of myth (an option). And I like use my genre as an expansion of reality. Within your genre, what possibilities excite you?

What you give. There’s a lot of books out there so know the qualities you can bring to the table. This can be as simple as a love of writing but originality helps. What makes you special? There are hints to this in the last two sections. We’ll explore it from another angle later by looking at what you want readers and critics say about your works.

These truths are at the core of why you write what you write. They give you direction, ideas, and affirmation. They also pinpoint your personal writing interests. Sometimes these interests change. For instance, perhaps your concept of the genre evolves. This changes your idea of its potential which in turn might affect your perception of what you can give.

Or you stretch your abilities and you feel another genre has more potential. Or maybe you see the potentials for your current genre as drying up as the genre evolves. If you stay aware of your beliefs, you will know why you are uneasy or unsatisfied. Know yourself and you’ll know when it is time to consider a change (or expansion) in genres – and why.

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