Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What JK Rowling Can Teach Us about Picking a Genre

Have you heard that every author should pick a genre? It's been mentioned on Go Teen Writers and I agree with it--it gives your readers a good idea of what to expect. I, for example, write YA speculative fiction. That said...
JK Rowling shaped my childhood so much, I don't know who I'd be if I hadn't read her books.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)
Source My favorite J.K. Rowling book. :)
But, I have a complaint. Now that she's done with writing HP, she's willy-nilly writing whatever she feels like--adult novels! Children's books! While she has the right to publish whatever she wants, as a reader, this is kind of disorienting, because I don't know what I'm getting from her anymore. A book about dentists? An epic fantasy? A historical? It's far more comforting as a reader if I know the author will be writing something in the same genre, or a similar one. Kami Garcia, for example, after writing the Beautiful Creatures books, for example, is writing another YA paranormal romance--though I think this one is darker that BC. Her writing partner, Margaret Stohl, while she's venturing out and writing a YA scifi--which I can't wait to read!--she's still staying within YA spec fic. I have an idea of what to expect from both of them. (Or at least I think I do, lol!)
I'm not saying that you have to write the same exact genre and again. I'm not suggesting if you write historicals, you can only write about WWII forever. You can write about other periods in time. But it would be weird to see you write a fantasy.

What do you guys think? Should an author be able to write whatever comes to mind, or should they pick a genre, even if it's a general one like speculative fiction?


  1. Well, once a writer has distinguished what genre works best for them I think they should stick with it- to an extent. :) I say that because I haven't figured out what genre works best for me yet.

    1. It's okay if you're still figuring it out. :)Some people have an easier time figuring out genre than others. :)

  2. Hmm...I see your point, but personally? I have so many different ideas I don't think I could just stick with one genre! :) Sure I'll probably always write YA fiction, but I will always love fantasy/historical/contemporary. I can't just stick with one! :D Which is probably really bad, but it's the way I am.