First off - Why are you here? Go to WriteOnCon and participate - I'll wait!
Okay, is it later now?
(I'm writing this because the site is currently dealing with a 403 error - I hope it clears up soon - there's AWESOME stuff on there so far.)
WriteOnCon is focused toward YA writers, but a lot of their content will be applicable to writers of any genre, and that's why I'm attending. Because (surprise!) I'm not a YA writer. I mean, one of my side WIPs is YA, but it's not my most darling piece of work, if you understand. It's a project I write in when I'm bored, and I'll undoubtedly grow to love it, but... it's not time for it yet.
ANYWHO, I was going somewhere with this...
I don't know about you all, but I write mostly fantasy. It's the geek in me. And yet, I hesitate to call myself a 'fantasy author'. Why? Well....
"The world wants to shove us into what it considers the appropriate pigeon-hole. I do not like to be labelled as a 'Christian Children's writer,' [fantasy writer] because... if I am so labelled then the implication is that I am to be read only by children, and Christian children at that. ... But I'm a writer. That's enough of a definition. ...But I don't want to be shut in, labelled, the key turned, so that I am not able to grow and develop...
"It seems that more than ever the compulsion today is to identify, to reduce someone to what is on the label. To identify is to control, to limit. To love is to call by name... but we forget names, and turn to labels."
- Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water
(I love that book)
I want to be a writer. Not a fantasy writer.
Genres are important, I know, as an organization tool as well as many other things. But genres should be used to organize books, not authors.
(Unless, of course, the author wants to be known for writing in a certain genre. I can understand why, if you're a mystery writer and want to be known only as such to help build a solid platform, or a variety of other reasons. I guess the point I'm getting at here is choice. I choose not to be labelled.)
Authors, what do you think? Do you refer to yourself as a 'fill-in-the-blank' writer? Does a genre title comfort you or limit you?
Readers: Is it a turn-off when your favorite authors write in other genres?
This could just be me. I don't want to always have to write fantasy, but I do always want to be allowed to write - and write whatever genre the story appears to me in. Stephen King writes many genres besides horror, C.S. Lewis wrote everything from children's books to philosophy, Lewis Carroll wrote math puzzles.
Food for thought, I guess. :)