Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Lesson - Genres

Happy June! June 2nd, to be specific. Sometimes I'll type the date into Wikipedia just to see what it comes up with. Happy Decorations Day (honoring veterans) to my Canadian friends! Happy Sack of Rome Day to my -- um -- never mind.


The almighty genre. Find one and stick to it, they say. Write the genre you love to read, they say. Don't spread your efforts, your brand, your time too thin, they say.

They say a lot, whoever they is. But is it useful? In the case of genres, companies stretch their brands all the time, and more or less successfully at that. Take Disney, for example: from movies to amusement parks to cruise ships, with hops in between. Then there's Virgin: music, airlines, banking.

And who doesn't like Trump vodka on Trump airlines? Oh, wait -- those both failed.

Trump isn't alone; according to a Nielsen report I just read, one out of every two attempts to enter a new product genre ends in failure. Yes, some succeed, and grandly (and profitably) at that. Back to writing, Stephen King's a master of the art of brand-stretching. Robert Gailbraith? Not so much.

Recently I've thought of trying my own hand at it. Heck, I figured, I've been more or less successful with fantasy now. Not J.K. Rowling successful, mind you, but not bad either. But, see, there's this romance genre over there that's tantalizing. I mean the genre, not the work. It represents the largest customer base out there.

TV-wise, there's been plenty of action for fantasy, with Game of Thrones and so on. No options envy there, then. Still, I've watched Outlander with my family with interest, in large part because that series successfully bridges fantasy with romance. It's got great characters, and it's a very well executed storyline from a historical perspective.

Just watched the last episode of the first season, though. Nope. Can't do it. I can't write that stuff.

Gonna go back to my gods and elves and dragons and so on. They, at least, play nice with each other. Usually, anyway; when they're not playing nice, they're just killing and maybe eating each other.

No genre-stretching for me....


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