genre fatigue

There’s only so much of one subject that you can handle.

I consume horror novels at a pretty quick rate. I usually enjoy them and there is something to be said about the types of ideas that they give me in relation to my own fiction. However, there is a time to indulge in genre and a time to take a break from genre.

Reading only horror is not going to make you a good horror writer. Reading only sci-fi is not the key to making you a good sci-fi writer. It is in a diversity of different work that we find opportunity to inject new ideas, styles, or structures into our own work.

I am writing this ideology out on the blog to try and remind myself of its importance.

Lately, I have been back in love with fantasy-related fiction. I can’t get enough. I want to tackle huge, epic fantasy novel series. But I find myself becoming over-saturated with the genre. The tropes are too familiar, the ideas are starting to run together.

Reading widely and spanning genre in that reading is the key to a deeper understanding of the work. Like you should branch out in your writing style, you should always strive to branch out in your reading style. Don’t allow “comfortable” genres to take over. You need to be more diverse in your consumption.

This is a message to myself.

Break out. Find news genres and new authors. Read differing voices and differing styles and find new ways of literary expression.

Don’t fall back into comfort. Comfortable reading is beautiful, but it becomes passive reading if it is limited in scope.

The list of genres that I have been neglecting:

  • Crime
  • Mystery
  • Literary
  • Sci-fi
  • Western
  • Non-fiction

I need to break into something new. I feel sequestered by my focus on fantasy and horror. I’m writing it here so that I can hold myself to the standard that I am setting.

This post is self-serving. It’s a treatise on me and my habits. But I hope it makes you think about what you are reading and the places where you find yourself in literature-tunnel vision. So, break out. Find something new. Challenge yourself in your reading.


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