What Kind of Writer am I?

My profile says Sci-Fi/Adventure Fiction Author and that’s true for the most part. I love writing stories that combine Sci-Fi and Adventure. However, Sci-Fi/Adventure Fiction is merely a label to answer the question that plagued me for many years:

“What kind of fiction do you write?”

I would rather think of myself as a Writer first and my genre second, if at all. Personal preferences aside, I have learned enough over the years to be able to tackle just about any form of literature out there, including pure Literary Fiction should the mood should ever strike me.

The point I am making here is about Labels. Labels serve to define us and what we do. Some are flattering, some not so much. Their purpose tends to matter most when we are trying to market our work to others and I won’t diminish the need to have them around. Hey, I’m trying to sell books too and I have this thing about eating: I like to do it.

The downside with defining labels is that they can pigeonhole you into an area that you may eventually outgrow. Heck, at one point, I considered giving up on Sci-Fi and writing purely Literary works intended to explore the Human Experience. Thankfully, I managed to find a middle ground and take that intended elements and incorporate them into my current chosen genre.

Self-examination is a good thing, but like most things it is best when done in moderation. Over-thinking something can lead to either greater insight or generating reasons to not do it. I prefer the greater insight because it helps me to be a better writer and storyteller.

Anyway, what are your thoughts?

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14 thoughts on “What Kind of Writer am I?

  1. Shoehorning ourselves into one genre can be unhelpful. Like you, there are a lot of different stories I want to tell. I’m not Gillian Flynn. If you pick up a Gillian Flynn book, they’re all going to be dark and involve crime and have unlikable female protagonists. If you pick up a Dan Brown book, they’re all going to be plot driven research-based thrillers with flimsy characters.

    However, all of us have a certain pulse in our work that transcends the stories we find worth telling. Stephen King, Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg do this best, I think. Obviously Jaws is very different from Poltergeist is very different from Saving Private Ryan. You could say that Carrie is different from The Stand and that’s different from The Shining. But I think the pulse of King’s work is that “humans are worse than monsters”, because most of his books involve people doing terrible things to each other, particularly out of nasty urges like obsession, fear, or jealously. I think the pulse of Spielberg’s work is the opposite – his movies are pretty much all about hope in some form, and the strange line between fear and wonder when faced with the unknown. Zemeckis is responsible for Forrest Gump, Back To The Future, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit…all INCREDIBLY different in genre, tone, and execution. But I’m sure some of the themes are similar if you look closely enough.

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      • I’m curious – do you have any idea that your genre crossing themes may be? Because I’m not sure I know mine, aside from the fact that a lot of my work is very “90’s” in overall style. It’s very reflective of my generation.

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      • I use what I consider Universal Themes i.e. one person making a difference, people being inherently good, all conflicts are basically the nuts and bolts of existence, etc. I believe that you could take any of my stories and change the settings that they would still work. My style is reflective of what I grew up reading, which was a wide range from H.G. Wells to Jules Verne to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett among others. While I love to consider my work fairly timeless, I know I’m not writing Shakespeare…hehe.

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  2. I completely agree. Some of my favorite science fiction or fantasy authors jump from one to the other all the time, but many of them also dabble in horror or pure fiction. You can label a book, you can hear a voice, but to categorize and label the voice would be to confine and cage it. The wings ought not be clipped.

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