No Genre for Young Men

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m losing my mind.  And if you’re just turned on to the blog, stay tuned; wackiness is a-coming.

2012 doesn’t feel like it’s been my best year.  Yes, one of my stories did get accepted, and I’m very proud of that, but beyond that, I haven’t been very productive.  At least, I don’t feel like I’ve been very productive.  Of all the stuff I’ve written, 95% of it has ended up in the garbage.

They say you ought to write in those genres that you enjoy reading.  Unfortunately, I like too many genres.  From science fiction to horror to war stories to stories about people trying to find their feet in the world.  Occasionally, though very rarely, I even enjoy romance.  Let’s keep that last one a secret between us, shall we?

What’s really got me paralyzed lately is that I’m not even sure if I have a genre that I belong to.  There’s a difference between liking something and trying to make a name for yourself in that field.  I love to cook, but I’ll never become as renowned a chef as Gordon Ramsey.  I love science, but I’m no Hawking.

Recently, I looked up five novels on Wikipedia that I felt had no connection whatsoever to science fiction: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.  I wanted to see what genre they’d been put under.  Fitzgerald and Salinger were listed as simply “novel”, McCarthy was classified as a thriller, Ellis wasn’t given a label, and Palahniuk was described as satire.

Fitzgerald and Salinger are both dead now, but if I ever got the chance to run into McCarthy, Ellis, or Palahniuk, I’d love to know if they through their work fit into any particular genre.  Maybe the first step out of my apparent road to madness is to disregard genre entirely and let that get sorted out later; just write a book on whatever I want and then if people want to call it science fiction or romance or thriller, let them.

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