I found the article below by J.J. Azar to be the best explanation of The Trouble with Genre and why one size doesn’t fit all.
Whether we cook with food or cook with words, the product is as unique as the artist. It’s this uniqueness that not only makes our craft genuine but also interesting and captivating. Our work bears our signature. We–not the genre–define the work, and the work defines us (“Mother’s roast duck is the best”). By stuffing it into a mold (genre), we risk creating a false expectation in the reader, as J.J. Azar shows. But, as he also points out, we have to label our work with something.
That said, as readers we have to keep in mind that genre labels are just labels. A good strategy is to find out what a book or show is actually about, or better yet, do a taste test. Sample it.
To kick off today’s post, I would like you to envision something for a moment. Let’s pretend you’re baking a cake in your kitchen. We’re going to assume that it’s a Tiramisu cake because I want to be cheeky and reference a previous post, and we’re also going to assume you’re decked out in your chef’s hat. As you’re busting your ass working over flour-stained countertops, your youngest sibling saunters into the kitchen like a pointy-eared imp who has no business spectating.
So you’re whisking together flour and milk and eggs in a bowl with the wrist of Ares, beating the damn ingredients together like they owe you gambling debt, and there’s your little sibling waiting for the perfect opportunity to break your concentration. And finally the little thing asks, “What kind of cake are you making?”
You look at your sibling with eyes of death. “Tiramisu,” you hastily answer. You don’t have
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