I have a love-hate relationship with categorization.
The annoying, fastidious side of my personality appreciates the tidy attempt, providing a simpler way to choose entertainment in the form of books, music, or films—all things I can’t live without.
Lately categories have become a thorn in my side. For me, one of the hardest choices I had to make when I recently self-published Beneath the Satin Gloves all came down to that bloody categorization.
I stared at the screen for a good while and had to partake in some monumental soul-searching. What about history, romance, adventure, comedy, drama, and don’t forget…science fiction?
After biting all of my fingernails until they became unrecognizable, I made some big girl decisions. After all, the right reader may never find my book if it’s in a category that doesn’t fit. No pressure.
So, I threw my baby book into the thriller pile. When applicable I tossed my baby into the espionage heap for good measure.
I just finished the first draft of my second novel. But, the marketing elves reared their ugly heads, stifling my excitement with their shrill, no-nonsense voices of reason saying: “How are you going to define this kooky one, Britt?”
In a lot of ways, my latest work is an inspiring story about self-discovery and surrendering to love. On the other hand, there is a dark past which haunts the main character, creating suspense throughout.
I eventually realized why picking a genre for my books was so damn difficult. It’s like picking one for life.
Stories are fantastic glimpses into the lives of others. Concepts and characters don’t simply appear out of thin air; they’re based on real experiences and real people.
Life is impossible to categorize.
If it were simple to define, it would be dull as all get-out. We would walk around aimlessly, because everything would be ordinary, regulated, and colorless.
What about my life? I see romance, comedy, and adventure. Sometimes drama makes an appearance—and that’s OK, too. Perhaps my life story would be considered an indie dramedy.
When it comes to packaging up entertainment, categories bestow essential borders of interest for us to reference. Yet, there are times when I watch a comedy and I don’t laugh—in fact, sometimes it’s a downright tear-jerker.
Will readers think my books are all about hopeless criminals and serial killers, because of the thriller label? Possibly. Because we all categorize the category, don’t we?
All I know is, I rolled the dice and took a chance. Hopefully readers out there will do the same when they stumble upon my books, mere needles drowning in a haystack of millions.
So, now I have to challenge all of you. If your life story became a book or a movie, which genre would it fit into?