On Genre

As a reader I try not to limit myself (though I do tend to stay away from mystery and horror since I don’t like suspense or being scared). As a writer, I’m currently working on a fantasy fiction novel. Will I continue in that genre once it’s complete? I’m not sure. There are a lot of things I love about fantasy… and a few things I really don’t.

Naturally I love magic. I love the different rules. I love magic’s power and its limitations.

I love battle scenes. I love the clash of steel on steel and spell on spell.

I love (most) magical creatures. Good and evil.

I don’t love the quest for an all powerful magical object that must be obtained to save or destroy the world. There are too many of these and there is only one Lord of the Rings.

I don’t dig dragons. I don’t know what it is. Maybe they remind me of dinosaurs? (I was never big into them, either) Whatever it is, I’m just not interested.

I’m not a fan of most fantasy book covers. Many of them are either cheesy or sexist. Cover art should represent the contents of the book. It should be cool, classy, and not make me want to vomit.

My biggest beef however, is less about the genre and more about how others perceive it. For example, when I was in grade twelve I needed an elective and couldn’t decide what to take. I ended up straying from my advanced courses to enroll in a general English class. It’s focus? Sci-fi and fantasy. The novels and short stories we read were outstanding. This begs the question, why was the class limited to general students?

I feel as though sci-fi and fantasy are still limited to the general classroom. When it comes to the media, “literary” fiction will receive coverage while “genre” fiction does not. Many book and literary festivals limit or exclude sci-fi/fantasy. There are even separate book awards. So I ask you, isn’t a good story, a good story no matter what the genre?

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Filed under Fantasy, Writing

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