Personal Essay

Do You Have a Favorite Genre?

Find you read certain types of books?

JAN 28, 2024

Some people read only one genre of story. They love romances or historical fiction and that is the one type of books they choose to read. Kind of how I used to read Nancy Drew when I was younger. Nothing could touch a Nancy Drew Mystery and I lived for every other Friday night. My parents would take my sister and I to “town,” I’d pick out the next book in the series, and buy it with my allowance. Of course, my mom took us to the library, too. But those books were just fillers until I got my hands on that next Nancy Drew book. What I wouldn’t give to have my collection now.

Now that I’m finally following my desire to write longer pieces of fiction, I had to choose what genre I wanted to write in. Or rather the genre chose me. I love to read women’s fiction stories. Contemporary or historical, it doesn’t matter. As long as the story follows a strong woman through whatever trials come her way, whether they be a mystery, a tragic family relationship, or whatever else the author could throw at them. I dropped myself into the settings and related to those characters. I wanted then and still want to be a strong female, sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. (You should have seen me when I received a pass from a query for my first manuscript.) Strong tears would be more accurate. It was a strong reaction, just not the right one.

But I learned and I’m stronger. My first manuscript was contemporary women’s fiction. It’s resting at the moment, because I know it needs more work. The story is percolating in my brain. My second manuscript has all my attention at the moment. Its story has a dual timeline. And if that isn’t hard enough to navigate, I threw in one historical plot and one contemporary plot. Now, I have two genres to write and read in.

I knew I wanted two strong female leads when I started this story. Strong, but human. How do you make a book character human, you ask? That’s the million dollar question, but I’m learning. So now, I’m reading and writing in historical and present day fiction. What’s the best way to make my characters well-rounded and relatable? I choose a grandmother and adult granddaughter. Their stories parallel each other’s lives as each timeline unfolds. When I finish it, you will be the judge and decide if I got it right. My readers.

There are some great examples of dual timeline books. I‘m studying them, reading them, marking passages, and taking notes. ‘When We Believed in Mermaids’ by Barbara O’Neal is an excellent example and “The Paris Daughter’ by Kristin Harmel is another. ‘The Alice Network’ by Kate Quinn, which is one of my favorite books of all time, weaves together a young girl and the fictionalized story of a female network during World War I. She weaves strong and vulnerable women throughout to tell a story of love, bravery, and betrayal. Also, ‘The Lost Apothecary’ by Sarah Penner is a book which I highly recommend along with all the others for your reading pleasure. They won’t disappoint.

That leads me to ask the ultimate question. What genre(s) do you read? There are many genres from horror to science fiction, fantasy to historical fiction, women’s fiction to romance and others mixed in between. Are you pulled to one favorite type or do you dabble with whatever pulls you in? Maybe a catchy cover grabs your eye? Does your local book store recommend great books? (I know they do.) The latest bestseller is your first choice?

What have you read lately that you really liked? If it’s a dual timeline with strong women, that’s even better! Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear from you.

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