Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Genrefied

So I was looking over a manuscript of mine earlier. It's not a full manuscript, just the first three chapters that the potential agent asked to see. The potential agent and I did not see eye to eye on this one. Such is life. I've had three agents. Two I fired. One left the agenting part of the industry. I've had a lot of novels sold. Mostly by myself, so, you know, it is what it is.

I bring this up mostly because the novel in question doesn't fall into the category of horror, where a lot of my novels end up. It is most decidedly steampunk, with a twist of horror, a dash of political intrigue, a hefty dose of action and just for kicks I've even got a bit of romance tossed in. Like I said, it's steampunk. Sort of.

Another book I'm working on is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel with zombies and worse thrown in. It's the first of three novels planned in a series, and by the time the third book is finished you're decidedly dealing with a fantasy setting.

And then there's the sequel to BLOODSTAINED OZ (BLOODSTAINED WONDERLAND), that I'm working in with Christopher Golden (Yes, I KNOW you've heard that before, but I AM working on it, I'm just taking waaaaaay too long to get my part done. But I mean it, I'm working on it actively right now.).

When I'm done with BLOODSTAINED WONDERLAND I'm going to finish off BOOMTOWN, you know, the western-horror-action fusion that I've been plodding away on for two years.

Of course I just finished my second collaborative novel with Charles R. Rutledge, which is best called a fusion of crime fiction and horror with a side of Southern Gothic thrown in.

and soon the ebook version of my novel FIREWORKS will be coming out. That's the science fiction political thriller I did a while back.

And then there's the SUBJECT SEVEN series. The YA series that's science fiction and action adventure.

A couple of the reviews for BLOOD RED said it was a good vampire story with a surprising romance thrown in. Imagine my surprise. I had no idea I was writing a romance. I'm okay with that, by the way. I had a lot of fun writing it, whatever it was I was writing.

Did I mention the sword and sorcery trilogy? Yep. Got one of those, too.

How about the horror mosaic novel? Or the science fiction mosaic novel?

I spin a lot of plates at any given time. I LIKE spinning a lot of plates the same way that I like playing with many, many characters and subplots when I'm writing a book.

Most people tell me I write horror. A few reviewers have corrected this to say that I write urban fantasy. I'm good with that. Really, at the end of the day, I write stories. I usually leave it for the publishers to decide what to call a story when I'm done. As long as they don't call it "rejected" I'm basically happy.

The thing is, I write stories. Some of them are horror. Some of them aren't. Most of them probably have a few moments designed to generate fear, because I think that fear is important as a driving tool and because I like a good spooky story.

Mostly I write stories. I don't care what label goes on them as long as there's a little logic to it. When FIREWORKS first came out, I suggested calling it a science fiction novel. The published decided to call it horror, because that was where I had the fans. I opted not to complain because, a) the publisher probably knows a bit more about marketing than little old me did at the time and b) I was made absolutely giddy by the notion that I might have fans.

I probably should have argued a bit in hindsight. The story really isn't horror, though, again, there are a few horror elements.

My point is that I write stories. Yes, I'm repeating myself. I think sometimes things should be repeated. I  write stories. Now and then I've had reviewers, fans (YAY!) and publishers who have been uncertain where something should go. I tend to think books are best served by going on nightstands and later on book shelves when the reading is done. Or if you read electronic books, in the proper storage spot where, hopefully, readers will want to revisit the tales I've told.

I have been genrefied. Well, me and bloody near every writer out there.

And I'm okay with that, too, as long as I'm still having fun writing. But I have to tell you, I'm no sooner going to limit what I write than I am going to limit what I read. It might be that I'll never sell some of the things I write, but I will write them just the same. I tend to think some of the best writers out there break away from writing in a single genre, and that in so doing they are pushing the boundaries of what can be written (Who do I mean? Well, for starters, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert RS. McCammon, F Paul Wilson, Tom Piccirilli, Christopher Golden, H.P. Lovecraft,  Tim Lebbon, Robert E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner....the list goes on.)  Do I think I'm one of the best writers out there? Nope. But I want to be. So how can I do less than the ones I admire the most?

Besides, why would I want to limit myself by only ever telling one kind of story? Where would the fun be in that?

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