I love genre novels. Well, I’d better qualify that, because I’ve suddenly thought of 30 or 40 genres that I don’t love. So – I love crime, I love historical, I love romance, I love a whole load of sub-genres – I don’t love science fiction (I’m sorry, I love some science fiction, I’m just not drawn to the genre – no offence, seriously).
And just by writing a book based on what happens to Mary Bennet after the end of Pride and Prejudice, I am de facto writing a genre novel (mem to self: look up de facto and check that it means what you think it means [alternatively just publish the post and let someone have the pleasure of correcting you]) I guess the genre is:
– historical romance
– regency romance
– Jane Austen sequel
– fan fiction
All of the above.
And that causes me certain difficulties, because I’m also trying to write a novel which is primarily about the idea that a shrivelled, shallow and thoroughly unlikeable person such as Mary, can develop, given the chance, into a human being who is capable of loving and being loved – and I don’t just mean romantic love.
But of course, genre fiction sets up expectations – and readers have expectations – and I have expectations – that there will be a proper romance, with a proper Jane Austen type ending with love and marriage and all that.
I don’t want to give too much away (spoiler alert: I love genre fiction), but my recent structural editing job has been all about the demands of genre. And it was a killer to do – because well, apparently writing is hard.
But it’s done, it’s done, it’s done.