Do you find yourself reading the same story over and over? Reading books you kinda-sorta like, but rarely love? Has some of the magic gone out of your favourite pastime?
I’ve been there.
As a young reader, I loved The Lord of the Rings. (Yes, I had an anorak, too.) Tolkien made fantasy my go-to genre. At first, I was on an epic journey. But gradually, gradually, reading turned into a slog. I had to trudge through dozens more fantasies before I realised what was wrong, and what I had to do if I didn’t want to abandon reading entirely: I had to walk away from the category I had once loved.
The strange thing I’d discovered is that — for an anorak-wearer — I’m a pretty adventurous reader. I don’t need nor want to know what the story will be about before I’ve read the first page. I don’t need the spoilers. And that’s what genres are. A genre is a massive spoiler that tells you exactly what story to expect. Not the nitty gritty, but it dictates what will happen.
A genre is a “managed experience”. Before you’re through its gates, you already know about the rides. I have nothing against theme parks. Merry-go-rounds and rollercoasters can be a lot of fun. And they’re safe. So if you’re a genre reader and you’re constantly surprised and delighted by your current reading material, you don’t need to take action (yet). So long, and happy reading.
Well, you’re an adult. You don’t have to stay inside the park. You can handle a bit more adventure. You can handle a few more unknowns. Right?
That’s what I thought.
I wrote the Frank Friendship series around an unpredictable character and the results are… unpredictable. No two books in my series are alike because Frank isn’t stuck in a genre-enforced Groundhog Day. He’s a man on a mission. He’ll go anywhere and he’s quite prepared to take you with him.
If you’re naturally adventurous (despite your anorak), or you recognise the symptoms of genre fatigue, maybe you’re just my kind of reader. Maybe, like other readers, you’ll enjoy my startling plots and outrageous characters.
I do hope so. Because then, perhaps, you’ll join me on a truly epic quest — to prove that it’s book marketers and libraries that love genres, and that pigeonholes are for pigeons. As readers, as humans, we place more value on a good story.
I’m RG Manse. I don’t believe in genres. I believe in amazing stories.
RG Manse is a pen name. Sadly, pen faces don't exist yet, so the real human is stuck with that face. RG Manse would have loved a pen body too, and would then have posted a picture, rendering this page (like the books) entirely unsuitable for work.
The snippets of bios at the end of the books are all real. The emotions expressed in the books are real, too (as are the tears and laughter during writing) but the people and events are made-up.
RG Manse is published by Wolf Ears Media.
RG Manse would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
... and has even been heard once (maybe twice) on Twitter.