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January 22, 2013

A good question. Why do we write what we write? I write fantasy because I like to read fantasy. I also write fantasy to escape the world and poetry to make sense of it.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

laskenayI got to thinking today: what draws a writer to a genre? Is it the thought of a challenge? Of exploring something new? Is it that the familiarity of favorite reading material gives one the comfort and security to write in that genre (whatever it is) despite doubts and a lack of confidence?

I’m sure it varies from one writer to another, from one personality type to another. Some writers dabble in different genres, while others stick with one for their entire careers, over the span of years.

I can only speak for myself when it comes to this topic: I have written five novels, all leaning toward fantasy or blatant fantasy. None take place in the real world, all but one involves magic, and all involve a culture rather like the Renaissance or late Middle Ages in terms of technology. I always say I would like to branch out…

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  1. I often think that a ‘genre’ is a thing that publishers and the public impose on you, useful for marketing reasons but limiting for a writer, Choosing a genre – in creative terms – is like electing to enter a prison cell. I am enjoying your blog Judith. Really varied and interesting/

    • Thanks, Wendy. The prison cell metaphor is an interesting one. I always feel that I find freedom in writing, but then I do try my hand at whatever takes my fancy, even though I favour poetry and historical fantasy. During my clear out I came across a Murder Mystery play that I wrote for Darlington library some years ago. I also still have my copy of your short story collection Knives which I believe reveals a different side to your writing. Perhaps libraries also impose limitations (unintentional or otherwise) as they tend to stack books by genre.

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