Copyright 2014, Winifred Morris, all rights reserved
Genre Busting—April 29, 2015
When most people bought their books at book stores, genres were somewhat helpful to those buyers. If you liked mysteries, you could go straight to the mystery shelf. Genres might have been useful to some authors back then too—if they happened to like to write mysteries. Or science fiction that was similar to what Isaac Asimov wrote. But what if, like Kate Wilhelm, your science fiction was more character driven than most of the genre? Well, after a while, she gave up and switched to mysteries.
I think some authors have always found genres limiting and annoying. Does Connie Willis write science fiction or historical fiction? She’s received both Hugo and Nebula awards, but clearly her historical research is extensive. I recommend Blackout and All Clear if you’d like to feel what it was like to be in London during WWII.
I’m pleased to say that Amazon has Blackout, at least the Kindle version, listed in Science Fiction>Time Travel and also in three categories of Historical Fiction. And I’m not surprised there is no category called Science Fiction>Time Travel>Historical. But digital categories still seem to be limited. Why? In a bookstore, there were only so many walls, so many shelves. But now in the wall-less, shelf-less digital bookstore, why is there still no category for comic romantic suspense?
Okay, I didn’t write Of Mice and Money to fit a genre. It was my first attempt at an adult book. I started it with a vague idea that I wanted to write a Donald E. Westlake novel with a female protagonist, but Kiva’s emotions took over, and then her daughter showed up. But with Bombed I diligently tried to emulate Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, one of my favorite books. I love the combination of humor, romance, and suspense. But I’ve now found there’s no way I can list Bombed on Amazon so that all those sides of it show. Amazon calls Agnes and the Hitman Romantic Comedy, and also Romance>Suspense. But there’s no category called Romantic Comedy>Suspense or Romance>Suspense>Humorous, and I’m sure I’m not the only reader looking for books like that. (Interestingly enough, Westlake’s comic caper novels are listed as Crime, Suspense, and Mystery. No mention of the clever humor.)
I became even more exasperated with this when I tried to buy ads. That’s when I discovered Romantic Suspense is all dark and moody, at least judging by the covers. Romantic Comedy seems to fit Bombed better, but what about all the thriller plot stuff that I worked on so much—and was a lot of fun to write?
Comic romantic suspense is my personal beef, but I know many authors have been frustrated by these genre barriers. Granted, there have always been “best sellers,” also referred to as “commercial fiction,” that stretched across genres. The belief seems to be that if a book is good enough, or just popular enough, it doesn’t have to adhere to a genre. But now with digital book stores, it seems there could be more extensive categories even for books that don’t have huge marketing budgets. That would certainly serve authors better, and would serve browsing readers better too. Now if I search Amazon for comic romantic suspense, I find suspense and romance, but I don’t find any humor. Grrrr.
But many of my thoughts aren't appropriate for stories — which is why I've turned to writing humor, by the way. So once in a while, I may decide to share some of those thoughts here. I'll also post them on my blog on Goodreads.
Mostly I like to weave my thoughts into stories rather than just splat them out naked. I see this website as primarily a way for those of you who have found my stories, or heard about my stories, to learn more about them, or to contact me.