Blogger: Rachel Kent (formerly Rachel Zurakowski)
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Hi, everyone! I’m back. 🙂 Last month Michelle (who is awesome) took over my week of blogging for me while I was on my honeymoon.
This week, I’d like to discuss genre. Have you ever imagined what a bookstore would look like if books weren’t organized by genre? I imagine the books would be alphabetized by authors’ last names all around the store. The store would need little arrows on the ground to point out how to get from A to Z!
Beyond the organization of the bookstore or library, what is the purpose of genre?
Genre allows the reader to find the book he or she is interested in reading. It’s a way of cataloging books so a reader knows what to expect. If you’ve read a romantic suspense and enjoyed it, you’re likely to be interested in more romantic suspense books and so on.
However, genres go beyond just categorizing books; they actually establish rules for the books under the genre. We’ll be discussing those rules this week. A writer and publishing house must follow the unspoken rules to best reach the audience with the book. Breaking the genre rules can have interesting results, and I look forward to discussing the consequences of rule breaking with you as well. Genre is so ingrained in us that, as writers, following many of the rules comes naturally; as readers we’re practically programed to recognize genre.
Here’s an example of how readers are programmed to recognize genre:
This is a romance novel:
After looking at that cover, who guessed that I was lying? The genre (horror) was instantly recognizable to you. I’m looking forward to discussing this with you more tomorrow!
For now, what’s your favorite genre to read? What’s your favorite to write? If your answers to those two questions are different, why is that?