Guest A.K. Turner: Stand By Your Genre

A.KI run into many writers who, when asked about their genre, feel the need to downplay whatever it is they write, be it Western, Romance, Fantasy, or Plumbing Manuals. For a committed writer, your genre is a large part of who you are, so feeling in some way ashamed about it is not a comfortable place to be, nor conducive to bettering your craft. Unless you write with the specific intention of spreading hate in the world, I can think of no reason to be ashamed of your genre.

Years ago I was one of those writers who felt the need to disqualify my genre. “Oh, I just write humor,” as if humor was somehow of lesser value than other genres. Much of this stems from connections with writers of literary fiction, people who have multiple MFAs and receive large monetary awards for producing work of literary merit. All of which is wonderful for them, but that’s not me. None of those literary writers set out to make me feel bad about my work, but the feeling was there nonetheless.

Hair of the Corn Dog 7Over time I’ve not only recognized the value of humor, but prize it as essential. Laughter makes the rest of life tolerable. Once you see the merit in your own genre, you’ll see it in others, as well. Writing that educates, causes readers to feel emotion, to explore imagination, or writing that simply makes us want to read more, all have immeasurable value. Whether someone else understands that (or not) is irrelevant and certainly not your problem. If you write, all that is important is that you understand it. Honor your art, stand by your genre, and continue to create.

About the Author:

A.K. Turner is the author of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, Mommy Had a Little Flask, and Hair of the Corn Dog,as well as a coauthor of Drinking with Dead Women Writers and Drinking with Dead Drunks. Her work has been featured in various publications and anthologies, including Folio Literary Magazine, Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana, and I Just Want to Be Alone. A former writer-in-residence and creator of “The Writers’ Block” on Radio Boise, she lives in Idaho with her exceedingly tolerant husband and two daughters.

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