Genres, a form of categorisation, have always been for the benefit of audiences, institutions and critics above authors. The reader welcomes the categorising of stories to ensure they access the tropes and conventions they enjoy. The genre-fiction author, largely but not always, sets out to follow those conventions to meet reader expectations. The critic often envisages meanings that s/he alone brings and that the artist never intended; the story continues to be written after the figurative death of the author. Institutions however, by which I mean those bringing a story to market whether they be a publisher or movie distributor, will carefully package the product to suit market conditions and genre categorisation can become fluid over time.
As storytellers, we might ask are genres really ‘out there’ at all? Before the advent of digital publishing and the ereader, publishers largely expected their authors to stick to one genre of writing so that readers could associate them with this brand, making the work easier to market. A lot of things have changed.
Paperbacks came to be produced in industry-standard sizes based on book store shelving requirements. Books were widgets. As a result, word count became a thing. This affected form. After the death of literary magazines, shorts didn’t sell. With the advent of digital formats authors became less restricted and could write whatever they fancied. Now readers consume stories differently, on mobile phones for example, shorts are back. As writers, we are free to play around with form, to innovate, and to mix and match genres blurring the lines like never before.
I have two series in production currently. The first, Vigilante Investigator Justice, is a hardboiled crime series. Book #1 The Breaks was published in 2015 and #2 GET9 will be out later this year. I’m excited to be having a new series of covers designed which will tie the look of the titles to follow and the series as a whole together. More on the new covers as I get them. The second, Numinous, is a series that I’m not sure how to describe. I quite like ‘speculative crime’ – I may have just created a new genre – but some might classify it as paranormal crime. It’s crime anyway. I’m still a crime writer.
Numinous was originally conceived and devised as a television series and I’m keeping the structure of the mini arcs which combine to form a bigger overarching narrative. As a nod back to its origins and with an eye on the future, I’m going to be experimenting with releasing these stories episodically. The covers will work slightly differently to suit the form. I’m aiming to get ‘season one’ out this year which will release in four parts. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes and I’ll be documenting it all here.