f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Stuck in a Rut

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, May 07, 2004

Stuck in a Rut

Please know this: as a Reader I have nothing against genre fiction. My genre of preference is mystery/suspense with horror and thrillers coming in next. I don’t read straight romance novels, nor Clavellian or Michenerian tomes, nor too many westerns. I pick up the occasional fantasy novel but don’t do science-fiction except for the brilliant Hitchhiker saga.

As a Writer, I would not be happy writing genre fiction. But that’s in no way meant to cast aspersions or judgment on those who do. What worries me more than staying in a genre is the full reliance or submission to a formula.

There is a publisher out there (who’ll go nameless) with what amount to formulas for their submission guidelines. Romances have to have (Stud + Beauty Queen x righteousness – nakedness) = Perfect Submission. It’s a policy that seems to work for them. It’s a policy that may be more strict for first time submissions, rather than for accomplished authors in-house. But it’s a policy which fundamentally treats writing in a way I have no interest seeing it treated.

I’ll look at genre pieces. We need genre fiction in-house. My passion though is for a storyteller with a tale to tell that doesn’t add up simply or won’t fit neatly into a formula. That’s when I’m surprised and challenged as a reader. These stories typically sell about as well as Jayson Blair’s memoirs, but they’re fiction that lasts—because it’s fresh and original.

That’s a simple thought for Friday. I wish you all the best in your writing. Come back Monday. I have no idea what we’ll be talking about.