Have you ever had a scene that is in such bad shape that it just makes you want to flail incoherently?
Yeah, me too.
But, in other news (I totally wrote “noises,” which I credit to my in-laws watching a football game in my general vicinity), we did fantasy conventions and subgenres at storycraft this week, which I was greatly looking forward to, since fantasy is my general cup of tea.
(For the curious, our list of conventions for fantasy includes: 1) includes some fantastical element–which can include setting in some cases where magic or something obviously fantastical is otherwise missing, and 2) isn’t some other genre, which, frankly, is a terrible definition but hey, it tends to be true.)
Unlike horror and scifi, however, we discovered that most of the lists of fantasy subgenres included something around 50 different subgenres. Which is a ridiculous amount of subgenres. An unnecessary amount of subgenres.
As one of the other writers noted when we got to “futuristic fantasy”–now they’re just being greedy.
On one hand, subgenres can be helpful. Fantasy is a large, broad, diverse genre–and someone who reads Tim Lebbon or George R. R. Martin may not like Robin McKinley, and vice versa. Subgenres can help a reader tell if they’re likely to enjoy a book.
But there does seem to be a limit to the usefulness. How deep do most readers–or writers–get when they’re looking at subgenre? Major subgenres like paranormal romance, dark fantasy, or urban fantasy are clear and imply certain themes and tone.
But the smaller or more obscure subgenres–do we need to go that far? Do we need to break everything down to the smallest common denominator and make yet another subgenre for it?
What do you think, Squiders? Is it worth it to break everything down as far as it can be broken down? Or is the whole thing ridiculous?