Genre Snob / Genre Slut

Writers can be snobs. They associate with a chosen genre, become known in that clique and stick with it until someone pulls the plug on their laptops. Poets don’t descend into fiction, novelists won’t be seen with journalists, YA writers avoid erotica. Well, we live our lives that way, don’t we? Avoiding anything that challenges our understanding of who we are and what we value.

However, other writers write around, do one-nighters with any attractive genre who crosses its legs in the bar. A master writer of thrillers does kid-lit.  The memoir writer publishes a cook book. The poet writes a novel. Yeah, that’s what happened to me. I wrote a novel and now I’m sitting here wondering what to do with the thing. A thing of 58,000 words. That would be one hell of a book of poems, but this is all prose. Weird, huh?

So, here’s another conundrum: who am I when I write fiction? Do I use my familiar name and muddy the expectations of my small but darling readership? When I typed up the title page of the book, preparing to send out queries–gulp!–I used my initials and surname. Something in me just snapped and I-poet could not claim the name I-novelist. Of course, many writers use different names for different genres, sort of like not telling your real name to a pick-up from that bar I mentioned. The theory is that an author’s name sets up an expectation among readers. Fair and sensible. But then I see “Nora Roberts, writing as J. D. Robb.” I like her books and it really doesn’t offend me that she has a nom de plume as showy as a peacock feather, but why? And what am I supposed to call myself when I’m not me? Oh, this writing thing has to stop, but we both know it won’t. So call me . . . Jane Doe?

2 comments on “Genre Snob / Genre Slut

  1. Larry says:

    How about Doug Lassiter? K.A. Wren? or maybe assume a split personality and claim the Doug an K.A. co-wrote the whole thing in the future and time traveled it back to you last week. That would be a great fiction.

    Like

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