Thursday, March 5, 2009

Where Would You Like Your Splash of Genre?

Today's post comes from the middle of a short story I'm working on. Well, from the first third really. See, it's a horror, but I've decided to open it up with normal occurances to ground it in reality before dabbling into the more supernatural elements. Makes good sense, right? But my concern is that an avid horror reader will open it up and wonder why the first five hundred words are a flirtatious conversation between a woman and her fiance. Insert question...

Where would you like your splash of genre?

What I mean by that is this... Everything you read has a prime element that causes it fit into a genre. Westerns, sci fi, mystery, horror, romance, you name it. But how far into the story (any story, from flash fic to full blown novel) can you go without introducing that element before the reader goes "Well, what the crap?"

When you open a book or magazine, do you want the element of your interest to jump out at you from line one or can you wait?

From the other side of the fence, do you write safely (genre strong from the get go) or daringly (make 'em wait and bet it all on your brilliant narrative)?


Lady Glamis said...

I think the sooner the better. Why hold off? I usually get annoyed if the writer holds off for too long. Like they're trying to hide something. Just my two cents. Your story sounds interesting, though! I'm not a huge fan of horror, but I think I might give it a shot, especially if you reeled me in with some non-genre stuff... wait. Then I'd get annoyed that you switched it on me.

See my point? Unless I knew it was horror, which most of your readers would.

I'm trying to make a point, really. It's that you are asking a tough question, and I think it requires a fine balance to do it right. My personal taste is that you don't drag your reader down one path and then yank them down another. My friend Lois stated it well... "If you lead me down a primrose path, I expect to see a primroses."

AC said...

Lady Glam has a good point, and I guess I would veer more toward putting the genre in up front. But of course the flap cover will ensure your readers have a general gist of the story and may not mind waiting for the good stuff. You have a great feel for plot, so whatever you think serves the story best will work--go with your gut!