I’ve got a theory about why authors prefer writing in certain genres. I think there are three major elements to a good story: characters, plot and setting. Obviously there are other, minor components such as description, dialogue etc. but I doubt an author of novels would focus on those. Description/ illustration would be more for an artist and dialogue for a script writer. Author of novels naturally prefer to focus on one of these components more than the others.
- If they prefer to concentrate on characters, the genres they tend to write are romance and drama, usually contemporary. The characters take centre stage and the reader cares deeply about what happens to them. The setting is recognisable so that unusual aspects do not distract the reader, and the plot consists of the characters’ emotional journey, which has universal themes understood by most people and are not generally out of the ordinary.
- If authors would rather focus on plot, they tend to write action, adventure, crime and mystery stories. Here, the emphasis is on the reader fitting together the pieces of what happened, when, where and how. The characters in these stories concentrate on solving a crime, or understanding which events conspired to cause a situation. The setting may be familiar or unfamiliar, but does not distract from the plot.
- If setting is an author’s favourite, they usually write science fiction, fantasy and historical stories, where they enjoy carefully crafting and describing a fantasy or historical world. The characters live deep within this imagined or researched world and the rich detailed setting dominates their interactions. The features of the setting also rule the plot, which is often a journey or quest through the world, showing off its elements to the reader.
I’d love to know what other people think of this idea, please let me know in the comments.