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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Genre Is For Critics and Booksellers, Not Writers

     There is a tendency to categorize writers of fiction as either literary or commercial. The implication is that either a writer chooses to write for the masses or the discerning few, for money or critical acclaim, for the here and now or the ages. There isn't always a clear delineation between the one and the other, and sometimes a book will achieve recognition both as commercial and literary fiction, but mostly not. Basically, this is how fiction writers are grouped.

     But I don't believe writers choose their material based on how they think it is going to be received. I don't even believe that they make a conscious decision to write in a certain fashion. Rather, I think that writers just try to do the best they can with what skills they possess. I think they are imbued with a desire to write about certain subjects, and mostly that is what they do. It isn't a matter of sitting down and saying, "Okay, I think I'll write the next Stephen King thriller and get on all the best-seller lists and make millions." Writing requires passion and commitment in order to come alive. Writers write about what intrigues and compels them, what speaks to them in the same way it will speak to their readers once they find the right way to set it all down.

Terry Brooks, Sometimes the Magic Works, 2005

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