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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

Overheard on . . . Romancing the Genres

“What do you write?”
“Contemporary Womens Fiction with strong Romantic and Comedic Elements.”
“So, Romance then?”

There are practically as many subgenres in Contemporary Romance as there are contemporary stories written. I have always found it difficult to tell people what I write. For the longest time my answer was Contemporary Romance. Then, at a workshop one time, I learned that my stories fit better into the Genre of Women’s Fiction.
Better… but not perfectly. My writing is a mixture of many different subgenres. Publishers aren’t thrilled by this. They like to know exactly how to market a book, where to sell it and where to shelve it.

From an early age readers are taught to look for books in narrow fields:  Fiction/nonfiction, Fantasy/history/speculative/comedy, etc. (For a thorough list of genres linkhere to Wikipedia )
Do you remember the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalogs? Well nowadays kids use a computer program very like Goodreads to find books. It allows them to search by grade or reading level. They can ‘like’ a book and find others like it. They can even recommend favorite books to their friends (within a closed school system for safety!)

Helping children use this system I discovered something interesting. Since these computer generated searches are based on user preference rather than pre-determined categories, diverse genres appear for a similar topic. For example, search on ‘lion’ and you might get poems about lions, non-fiction books about them, or a myth with a lion in it. While each clearly says what category it falls into, no longer are we locked into seeing topics in only one light.
What does this mean as readers and writers? Because of Goodreads and systems like the above we can begin to use a new language to describe books and our writing.

In April Romancing the Genres gets to spotlight some wonderful Contemporary Authors. I’m sure each of them, like myself, has a different take on this wide genre. So instead of asking them about what they write, ask them what their readers like about their books. You may find your own new way of categorizing your favorite reads.
Many Happy Journeys Inspired by Love -


Judith Ashley said...

Fascinating! I had no idea there was a computer generated search program for students in schools. I can, however, see the benefits of using something like that. I remember my son was fascinated with dinosaurs. By searching for dinosaurs on this system he'd be exposed to a wide-variety of writing all on a subject in which he was interested.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Deanne! The times, they are a-changing, for readers and writers alike - and I believe for the better!