Rant: Thinking Inside the Box


genre-zouk (Photo credit: daniel.d) (What the heck is Zouk!?!?!)

(from august 30 2008)

So, I’ve been trying to figure out what genre my book fits in and I am ready to give up. Sure, there’s romance in it, but there’s a lot of gore, too. Is that acceptable in a romance novel? I doubt it. But what else do I call it? They just need a “vampire” genre.


I hate genres , for the most part. I think you need broad categories, but past that I find genres very limiting – in literature and music and movies and.. well in everything. I don’t know how many bands I’ve see on MySpace with inane or contradictory genre labels. It’s just dumb.  Rock, metal, rap, country, instrumental, jazz, R&B, blues, pop, oldies, electronic and super heavy metal.  There.  That should cover everyone. And even those may be too confining. How about Hard, Medium and Soft? Or Catchy, Meaningful, Inane and Impossible to Understand the Lyrics for the Noise?   I just think we limit ourselves too much with our need to classify.

But then I think we like to be limited as a species. I don’t think our psyches can handle unlimited possibilities. Take the world of movie rentals. Thanks to the net, you can now “rent” literally anything, so what is the newest craze? The red box which has a smaller selection at any given time than a rural gas station rental shelf. I’m not knocking red box, I think it’s brilliant and very Star Trek modern, but I’m just saying.  And movie rentals aren’t the only thing, people do it with everything. We find a way to have unlimited choices and then we instantly start finding ways to limit our selections again. I think it’s subconscious, but it’s being done regardless.

A more personal example is the nightly “What do you want for dinner” text/phone conversation I have every single night with hubby. Here is an example:

H:”What do u want for dinner?”
M:“I don’t know what do u want?”
H:“I don’t know what do u want?”
M:”I don’t know give me some ideas.”
H:”I don’t know u think of something”
M:”why me?”
H:”coz I don’t know”
M:”well I had pizza for lunch”
H:”ok no pizza.”
M:“And I don’t want spaghetti”
H:”Ok what about ricey buckets?”

This is why we have unlimited texting. Now here is that same conversation when parameters are put in place immediately:

H:”What do u want for dinner?”
M:”Not pizza or spaghetti”
H:”ricey buckets?”

And done. Place clear cut boundaries and limitations and the mind has a framework to work within, but just open everything up and people go “duhhhh…” and drool runs down their chins.  I wonder why this is?  Maybe it harkens back to our tribal instincts because – despite our global communities blah blah we are tribal creatures. The first thing we do when we join any “community” is make our own “group” – aka tribe – wherein unspoken roles are automatically taken up by the various members…. We do it over and over and over again. The only difference between modern behavior and the Neanderthals is we now have a lot of groups – one for work, one for home, one for facebook, one for flickr, one for yahoo, one for church, one for…  And it doesn’t matter how well intentioned we are, we will still have a group set up quickly. It’s just human nature to limit ourselves, to make it an “us and them” thing.

But none of this is helping me come up with a genre. Screw it, I guess I’ll just query and hope for the best eh? Not that I am actually ready to send the letters yet. I still need a series title (I don’t like the other one and never have) and the last chapters still need approved and the last beta reader needs to get their ass in gear – though I doubt he will as he may well be at a bar-b-que this weekend instead of reading as he should be :p But we’ll see about that too.  I don’t hold hubby to anything until it happens, plus they may have plans. It could happen.  Still, I should start working on query letters soon.

Alright, I need to go to bed instead of rambling for pages as I am wont to do.

Song playing at the moment – Taikitalvi – Nightwish


Tags: , , , ,

About Joleene Naylor

An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

4 responses to “Rant: Thinking Inside the Box”

  1. Juli Hoffman says :

    Fun, retro-rant! 😉 I was just complaining to a co-worker about the music labeling thing. I listen to Pandora a lot when I’m at home. I have different play lists, depending on what I’m doing. So I’m listening to The Shins, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, Beck…you get the picture, anyways, out of NOWHERE, a Lady Gaga song comes on. Lady Gaga? I don’t the names of any of her songs, but it’s NOT good. Someone must have lumped her into “Alternative Music,” and that’s how she showed up on my playlist. Yuck!!!

    Alternative Music? What’s that even mean? Yes, I listen to a LOT of music that’s labeled “Alternative,” but alternative compared to what? Country? Pop? Rap? It’s the category that’s used when a style of music doesn’t have an easy label to slap on it. Perhaps we’ll just label you’re books, “Alternative Vampire.” Problem solved! 😉

    And as far as choices go, less is more. Too many choices, and people can’t make up their minds unless they “train themselves” to do so. Kind of sad, really.

    A “tribe” of vampire loving writers sounds…terrifying! LOL :[

    • Joleene Naylor says :

      AHHH! how scary! I have a complaint about Slacker radio – I have a rasmus/placebo station that plays about five songs by one or the other, then launches into about six other songs by random bands (good songs, but still) and repeats then for an hour or two, then back to five from the two bands I programmed it with… I get the licensing thing, but I’d like some variety during the hour or two they can’t play those…

      exactly! I remember when alternative got popular and it was just a catch all label for everything – from geggy tah to sublime. and those two have zero in common.

      I like that! “Alternative Vampire”… I may steal that!

  2. DM Yates says :

    I agree – I don’t like the confinement of choosing the limited genres out there. Do any of us today really write in one genre?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: