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When Genre Holds Back a Great Story

I have never cared much for labels. They’re too restricting. To be placed inside a box that tells me who I’m supposed to be and what I should do is not the type of life I like to live.

I feel the same way regarding writing. I write. Simple as that. I create characters, place them in situations, and take them where my imagination dares to go. But what happens when the story doesn’t fit into any genre? What if there’s no defined box that says, “This story belongs here” or “If you love ___ you’ll love this?” How do you market your work when it is a myriad of genres?

To be honest, a lot of stories are just that: a collection of various experiences leading to one story. Bits and pieces of this genre and that genre culminating into what the industry chooses to label it under. Publishing it under whichever market is trending.

A great story shouldn’t be subjected to what box can contain it. What would happen if such a story went without a genre and it exceeded the capacity of the box it was supposed to be placed in? Imagine that!

When it comes to TV shows, movies, or music, I don’t invest my time or money based on what category it falls in. I’m drawn to a good story, a good movie, a good song. Something that moves me, entertains me; something that gives me something to walk away with. For example, I’m not what you’d call a country music fan. It’s not bad; just not my thing. However, when the show Nashville hit the air, I watched from the first episode to the very last. I followed the show after it was canceled on one network and picked up on another until its series finale. I LOVED the show and because of the excellent storytelling, I grew fond of country music.

If I allowed genre preference to color my opinion, I would’ve missed out on an amazing show. It was the story that captivated me and kept me throughout every season.

How many readers are missing out on a great story because of the genre it was placed in?

How many writers are being rejected because the industry doesn’t know where to place their story?

How many stories are untold because there’s no specific box to place them in?

Genre shouldn’t hold a story back. Genre shouldn’t keep a story from being told. Genre shouldn’t be the barrier to getting a story into the hands of a reader that has longed to read one just like it.

Too many great stories are being withheld by those who believe categorizing equates to sales. Trust that a great story can do that on its own. I hope one day stories can be told for simply being a great story. Nothing more, nothing less.

What say you?

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