Panel of Experts: Genre
Question: If you had to label your work, what genre tag would you put on the bulk of it?
Horror and dark fiction/art seem to be the two big winners here, in terms of how we would label our work, if we had to label our work. Many of us balk at having to label, however, and many of us feel like what we do is specific and not just generally horror when that genre label has such wide-ranging definition. Some popular additional categorizations include science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy, bizarre, thriller, literary, and speculative fiction.
—Del Howison, writer
Horror’s fine. I know some writers think that’s a dirty word. I don’t.
—Sanford Allen, writer
I like dark fiction because it isn’t as constricting a label as horror but others would argue that there’s no such genre
—Adam Pepper, writer
I suppose dark fiction would cover it all, if there is such a thing. Personally, I love Clive Barker’s quote about this from his FantasyCon speech back in 2006: ‘Fuck genre. We are a continent of the imagination.’
—Paul Kane, writer
—Owl Goingback, writer
I suppose it would be horror – it’s certainly dark, but as I said earlier, I write everything from supernatural to psychological horror, and the pilot I’m working on at the moment is dark fantasy. Dark fiction probably sums it up best.
—Marie O’Regan, writer
I couldn’t put a label tag on the bulk of my work. There’s no one group that’s important to me. I tend to think of myself as a fantasy writer and a crime reader, but very little of what I’ve written can actually be placed into the fantasy realm, as opposed to science fiction, horror, or erotica. So I have no idea.
—Thomas S. Roche, writer
—Alexandra Sokoloff, writer
Ficta Mystica, or mystical realism. Which is not exactly a genre tag so, given my propensity for the dark stuff, obviously I’m a Horror writer. Or Terror. Or Suspense. Or Mystery. Or…
—Gene Stewart, writer
The writer and visual artist in me would whine that labels suck and fail to really communicate what my work has to say. The marketer in me would label various projects as gothic or alt or science fiction or horror or erotica or literary, depending on content and likely audience. Heck, the marketer in me might even hit the paranormal romance branch, on the way down the segmentation tree.
—Amelia G, writer
I’d probably call it, “speculative,” because it spans the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. But, of course, “speculative” tends to be more of a writer’s term than a reader/buyer/bookseller’s term. If pressed, I’d call it “science fiction/fantasy,” to conform to current labels, not meaning to ignore horror, but accurately to reflect the percentages of each.
—Karen A. Romanko, writer
Jack Ketchum once said to me, “I never want to write the same thing twice.” Damn straight. I feel the same way. Most of my short stories are horror, but my books cross boundaries and are nothing alike.
—Marcy Italiano, writer
Historical Horror, Dark Fiction, Weird Fiction, Heroic Fantasy
—Angeline Hawkes, writer
I’m not sure one genre tag would cover all of it. Most of my writing skews dark, but I enjoy SF as much as horror — and combinations of the two a bit more, sometimes.
—Ann Schwader, writer
— Anthony Izzo, writer
—Bev Vincent, writer
—Bob Johnson, writer
Horror and fantasy.
—Carl Alves, writer
Halloween, dark art, horror
—Chad Savage, dark artist
I would no more try to “label” my work than I would try to name just ONE favorite movie of all time. Impossible to do.
—Connie Corcoran Wilson, writer
Horror/Thriller. I’ve been known to call my Wolf novels “North Woods Noirs.”
—W. D. Gagliani, writer
—Corrine De Winter, writer
Adventure, Military, Horror.
—Derek Gunn, writer
Bizarro erotica with a hint of cheese.
—Ed Mironiuk, dark artist
The bulk of my work would be considered supernatural horror. I’ve written only one psychological horror story, and never anything in any other genre that I finished.
—Elizabeth Blue, writer
Dark Art, Horror Art, Monster Art, Monster Portraiture, Movie Monsters
—Eric Swartz, dark artist
Bizarre. Equal parts horror, sci fi, with a twist of whimsy.
—G. O. Clark, writer
Historical and romantic formerly, although now I have changed direction and I am writing horror/thriller which has been well-received so far.
—Helen McCabe, writer
—James Roy Daly, writer
—Jameson Currier, writer
—Jean Graham, writer
—Jeanne C. Stein, writer
Erotica (even if it’s not strictly true). It’s the one thing that all my writing has in common.
—Jemiah Jefferson, writer
—J. G. Faherty, writer
Most of my art is “horror” these days, but I have crossed into many other genres. I also like to illustrate mystery. My poetry is dark poetry/horror.
—Jill Bauman, dark artist
Noir and allegorical horror
—John Shirley, writer
Southern Gothic Horror.
—J. R. Parks, writer
Horror Comedy, or Horror Parody. Somewhere in there.
—Kevin David Anderson, writer
Fetish fashion glamour
—Larry Bradby, writer
History Gone Weird.
—Lon Prater, writer
Most of what I’ve had published so far is travel essays and personal essays, but I hope that will change. My secret identity is a novelist, which I hope will be revealed soon.
—Loren Rhoads, writer
Dark literary fiction.
—Lisa Mannetti, writer
Horror. I ain’t afraid of the H-word.
—Lisa Morton, writer
I’d say the bulk of my work falls under dark fantasy. I don’t shy away from gore when the story calls for it, and most of my stories have a supernatural or fantastical element.
—Louise Bohmer, writer
—Margaret L. Carter, writer
”Speculative: Handle with Care”
—Marge Simon, writer
My horror and SF pretty 50/50
—Mark Onspaugh, writer
Speculative Human Studies
—Matt Kennedy, writer
Quiet horror, literary horror, rather strange science fiction.
—M. F. Korn, writer
I’ve had fiction published in nearly every genre, but I’ve been most successful with crime fiction and women’s fiction.
—Michael Bracken, writer
Speculative – maybe that’s a bit of a copout, but it’s the umbrella term that seems to fit most.
—Michael J. Hultquist, writer
—Mick Sims, writer
My own: “Dark Paranormal Suspense Thriller Fiction”
—M. R. Sellars, writer
—Nicholas Kaufmann, writer
Horror with an old fashioned twist
—P. S. Gifford, writer
FICTION! No wait… POETRY. No wait… Oh, right, you wanted a genre. READABLE FICTION!
—Rain Graves, writer
Suspense with cross-genre elements.
—Richard Dean Starr, writer
—Rick Reed, writer
Science fiction and horror currently make up the bulk of my writing, with some other things sprinkled on top.
—Ryan M. Williams, writer
My publishers call it horror.
—Sarah Langan, writer
—Sèphera Girón, writer
Exploitation. Surreal. Bizarre. Horror. I think you wanted one…
—Shade Rupe, writer
Horror, of course…and Lovecraftian as the subgenre.
—Stephen Mark Rainey, writer
—Steve Calvert, writer
Dark fiction (horror, mystery/suspense, thriller, sci fi and fantasy–and a mix of all these).
—Steve Burt, writer
—Steve E. Wedel, writer
Satire. Hollywood Witches satirizes Hollywood and the New Age. Vampire Nation satirizes Communism. Pentagon Possessed: A Neocon Horror Story satirizes neoconservative war hysteria. Manhattan Sharks satirizes corporate culture and job hunting.
Manhattan Shark’s cover parodies Ayn Rand’s book covers. Same art deco style, but subverted. The screenplay version was a finalist in the 2009 Moondance Film Festival’s script competition.
In terms of nonfiction, I’m primarily a film critic and journalist.
—Thomas M. Sipos, writer
I have no idea. The ones I usually get are the typical catch all ones like lowbrow and goth etc. I see why that gets put on me but I really see what I do as more than that. I’m leaning more towards a fine art style these days but in a more lowbrow sensibility. I paint what I like.
—Vaughn Belak, dark artist
—Shaun Jeffrey, writer
Tags: adam pepper, alexandra sokoloff, amelia g, angeline hawkes, ann schwader, anthony izzo, bev vincent, bob johnson, carl alves, chad savage, connie corcoran wilson, corrine de winter, del howison, derek gunn, ed mironiuk, elizabeth blue, eric swartz, forrest black, g o clark, gene stewart, helen mccabe, j g faherty, j r parks, james roy daly, jameson currier, jean graham, jeanne c stein, jemiah jefferson, jill bauman, john shirley, karen a romanko, kevin david anderson, larry bradby, lisa mannetti, lisa morton, lon prater, loren rhoads, louise bohmer, m f korn, m r sellars, marcy italiano, margaret l carter, marge simon, marie oregan, mark onspaugh, matt kennedy, michael bracken, michael j hultquist, mick sims, nicholas kaufmann, owl goingback, p s gifford, paul kane, rain graves, richard dean starr, rick reed, ryan m williams, sanford allen, sarah langan, sèphera girón, shade rupe, shaun jeffrey, stephen mark rainey, steve burt, steve calvert, steve e wedel, thomas m sipos, thomas s roche, vaughn belak, w d gagliani