Of Genrevores and WIP

Ever heard of a genrevore? Maybe not, because <pause to use search engine> I may have just coined it.

My definition of a genrevore: A reader who devours anything and everything published in a particular genre.

When a genrevore turns author, s/he typically writes in the same genre s/he devours. In many instances, s/he is already heavily involved with other genrevores via social media (and/or wikis) and thus has a ready-made audience. And a genrevore author is unlikely to wake up early in the morning with a story from a totally unrelated genre forming on the brain and demanding some attention.

The most well-known examples of successful genrevore authors are romance writers. But authors who are completely dedicated to cozy mysteries, or thrillers, or epic fantasy, etc., also fall into this category, and many have deep back catalogues of stories written within a single genre to prove it.

I’ve never been a genrevore, on two counts. First, I’ve always read widely (cross-genre), and second, I’ve never read everything available in any particular genre. For example, I love fantasy by certain authors, but I’m selective about what fantasy I read (I won’t pick up a book simply because it has a dragon on the cover). So I’m definitely not a fantasy genrevore.

Same goes for scifi. And thrillers. And dystopian. And apocalyptic. And (an odd choice to follow apocalyptic, I know!) cozy mysteries. (I love Ellis Peters, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Sayers, but I won’t read any and every cozy mystery that comes along just because it’s a cozy mystery.)

Establishing a deep back catalogue that will appeal to genrevore readers is a challenge for any author. If the author is not a genrevore, doing so is even more challenging. I’ll admit there are moments when I look at what I’ve published so far – an allegorical novella with fairy tale themes (Strange Country); a retelling of a classic speculative suspense/horror tale (Monster); a classic allegory retold as portal fantasy (Dragon Slave) – and then turn to my WIP notes (spanning everything from fairy tales to zombie apocalypse) and wish I were a true genrevore.

But – I’m not. I yam what I yam, and it is what it is, so for those of you who are curious about what I’m working on now, this is the post you’ve been waiting for. It’s the first week in July, and time for the mid-year Works-in-Progress (WIP) report!

On My Desk: First draft of a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White for the Rooglewood Press writing contest. Current word count: 20,000+ (which means I have some cutting to do, as the word limit is 20,000).

Top Drawer: Second draft of Ami and the Alien (scifi retelling of Beauty and the Beast). Current word count: 63,000. In early spring I received substantial constructive criticism from an insightful, gracious beta reader. I’d just reached a convenient place to pause in making suggested revisions when the Rooglewood Press contest announcement came out. Because Rooglewood is asking contestants to submit entries as soon as possible, I decided to get Snow White out of the way before finishing Beauty.

Middle Drawer: Quite a few things stuffed in this drawer, including:

First draft scenes from a retelling of the tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

First draft scenes from an original fairy tale, which is related to the retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

Beneath the stack of fairy tale stuff is the second draft of a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which I group with Monster as speculative suspense/retold classics). Current word count: 57,000.

Bottom Drawer: Partial first draft of volume two From the Annals of the Dragon Slayer. Current word count: 37,000.

First draft scenes from the first volume in an original fantasy series. Current word count: Unknown, because handwritten.

Trunk in the Attic: First draft scenes from the first volume in a zombie apocalypse series featuring neo-Vikings and a sort of knight errant in the guise of an old lady traveling cross-country in a Winnebago. Current word count: Unknown, as nearly all of it is handwritten.

Phew. That’s it, and that’s quite enough to be getting on with.