I’ve mentioned in here more than once (and you would have probably guessed anyway from my book selection) that I write young adult manuscripts.  Most of the time, they’re young adult fantasy, though my work-in-progress is very light on the fantasy.   I didn’t really think about it much when I started writing.  Young adulthood is such a pivotal time of life.  In your late teens, you’re still trying to figure out who you are and at the same time, you’re making decisions that will affect the rest of your life.  College or military or career?  Stay in your home town or move away?  Celibacy or sex?  Having a young adult protagonist gives a writer endless options.

But, what about the rest of the shelves in the bookstore?  Mystery?  Romance? Sci-Fi?  Mainstream fiction?  Historical romance?  There are a whole library of ideas out there.  What makes a writer pick and stick with a genre?

Personally, I think it has a lot to do with what you like to read.  And that’s a good thing.  You need an idea of what’s out there before you can contribute to the literary pool (at least that’s my theory). It was one of the reasons that I started this blog.  I wanted to make sure I was staying up-to-date with young adult publications.

I also think the  plot that serves as your inspiration also limits you.  HARRY POTTER couldn’t have been anything else but a young adult book.  The protagonist needed to be a young person for the plot to work.  MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and THE DA VINCI CODE have to be mainstream adult books.  They needed to include older characters and mature themes.  I also think this is why so many authors have trouble defining their genre.  They started with an idea and didn’t worry about fitting it into a genre until they started the query process.

Finally, I think that the genre we choose is based on the authors that have inspired us.  My favorite book of all time is CHARLOTTE’S WEB and I think E.B. White is amazing.  My other favorites?  Roald Dahl, Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and J.K. Rowling.  Of course, there are other authors from other genres.  Oscar Wilde, H.P. Lovecraft, and Jane Austen have given me hours of delight.  But the vast majority of the authors I admire are young adult authors.  In some small way, my writing is a tribute to them.

So what about you?  How did you pick your genre?  Do you ever try other genres?

That great pile o’ books is by felixco.inc and I found it on freedigitalphotos.net.

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