Monday, June 6, 2016

Blurring The Lines

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I hate genres. My blog is called Genrefied, because I often feel like whatever I write, it's going to be shoved into one genre or another.

I understand the reasoning and I can even agree with it to a certain extent. fiction and non-fiction should be separated.  I'll even go a little further. Maybe romance should be kept away from hard science fiction.

here's my deal: People go into stores that have been broken into genres, they look in specific sections and they leave. There are exceptions of course. I can almost guarantee that if there is a bargain section, I'm there.

But there is still a lot of bias from a lot of people after they look at THEIR sections.
"Oh. I don't read horror."
"No, I could never read a romance."
"I'm not into mysteries."
"Science Fiction bores me."

Un hunh.

A lot of times when the name Stephen King comes up in a conversation I can actually see the shutters going up inside a person's eyes.

"I don't read Stephen King. He's not my thing."
You mean you don't like horror? or you don't like crime? or you don't like fantasy?
"Any of his stuff."
So you didn't like The Shawshank Redemption?
"The movie? I loved it!
Yeah? How about Stand By Me?
"I that the one with the four boys going to see a body in Labor Day weekend before school starts again? "
"It was great!"
Okay. Now, how about The Green Mile?
"Oh, I cried at that one. it was beautiful."
Stephen King.
"It was not."
Shawshank Redemption was called 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.' It was a novella in his book Different Seasons. So was Stand by Me, but it was called 'The Body.' So was that other movie, about the kid who discovers a Nazi war criminal in his neighborhood. 'Apt Pupil.'
"I didn't like that one as much."
It maybe wasn't quite as good as the others I mentioned, but they are all Stephen King.  

I've actually had variations of that conversation on at least 50 occasions. No, I'm not exaggerating. i worked for 8 years in a place called Media Play that sold books and movies and music and computer games. There was a lot of cross pollination and King was my favorite example of how not to judge a book too quickly. Now and then, people got over their biases and came back and told me how much they enjoyed his books.

A lot of stores moved King over into general fiction a long time ago, because, you know, not exactly one genre for that man.

Currently I'm writing fantasy a lot. Also crime fiction, political thrillers occasionally, got a couple of science fiction pieces out there and a few I'm working on, oh, and straight up horror. Mostly, I mix them as I please. I like blurring the lines.
I am not a round peg. Now and I strictly a square one. I don't easily fit anywhere and I'm okay with that. I write what I want. I read what I want. Sometimes neither can be easily defined.

Some people will tell you that the movie ALIEN is science fiction. I like to counter that it's actually horror with a science fiction motif. Break it down and it's really a story of a monster on a boat. It's just that this time the monster is in outer space.

Write the story you want to write. figure out where it goes afterwards. That's my advice.

And here's a slightly different sample for you: BLOODSTAINED OZ.

One day Christopher Golden looked at me and said, "We should do a story about all of the characters from OZ falling on Kansas, only they've been turned into vampires."

Of course I said yes. Who wouldn't? There are beloved childhood memories, there's depression era Kansas. There are people trying to live their lives and, of course there are vampires. Depending on who you talk to, it's horror, it's comedy, it's action. I say it's all of the above. What it is not, is for the squeamish. Still, we had a helluva lot of fun.  If we had focused on genre, it would have been less fun.


  1. Love Stephen King. Loved Media Play. And Bloodstained Oz sounds brilliant.

  2. Thank you kindly. Yeah, I still miss Media Play.