What is Your Writer Genre?

        I have gotten to know a few new writers on FaceBook, so I thought I’d ask some of them to drop by and tell me of their genre.  By the way, I am the President of the ‘Society for Physician Bluegrass Fiction Writers.’  (SPBFW; sounds like a sunscreen, huh?)   Rekx is V.P.  He plays mandolin and his wife is a Doc.  If you run into any more like us, I hope you’ll send them our way.

        When my agent read the last draft of my manuscript, he said, “Son this is good.  It approaches Literary Fiction.”

        “Great.  What’s that?”

         “My boy, that is a body of work that is good enough I might not be able to sell it.”

         “Very funny, boss.  Any chance?”

         “Bibey, my job is to keep you grounded, but yes, I think so.  It is several grades above the National Enquirer.”

        “Hey, at least mine is a true story.  Maybe at least close to Literary Fiction?”

         He shook his head.  “Can’t take you anywhere.  But I have to concede, it is close anyway.”

        “How about commercial grade entertainment bluegrass physician fiction?”

        “That I might be able to sell.”

         “Well I ain’t too worried.  They didn’t even invent that Literary Fiction classification until 1970.  My hero was Mark Twain, and he never heard of such.  He just wrote the truth.”

         “Bibey, I knew Mark Twain, and you are no Mark Twain.  You’re good, but you ain’t that good.”

         “Hey boss, did you ever work for the Enquirer?”

        “Hush Bibey.  I have a reputation you know.”

         “Literary Fiction?”

        “Something like that.”

        I thought about that discussion a long time, and I came to the same conclusion I always do.  We can all only be what we are.  I am but a country Doc who plays in a bluegrass band on the weekend.  I don’t think many people are gonna take me for an intellectual.  I write what I am.

        But at the same time I have all respect for folks whose art speaks for their thing, and some of my friends are quite intellectual.  One of my early blog pals, the English Professor, has become a real life friend.  He does bluegrass photojournalism, and he is one of the best.  I suspect he’ll see an IBMA Print Media nomination this year.

         Ms. Susan writes romance.  Mrschili teaches English on-line.  Ms. Karen writes children’s books, and is a fine copy editor too.   Ms. Kim has a lot of great ideas on composition.  I think Pande is a chick lit lady for the most part.  Ms. Cindy writes country like me, and Neva, a new FaceBook pal, writes poetry.  I am not an poetry expert, but I like her work.  (Rumor has it poets are like us bluegrassers; in it for the money.)

        I hope folks will comment as to what they write.  What is your genre?  Leave us a link so folks can find you.  Like chili says, “It’s all about the community, Doc.”

Dr. B

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28 Comments on “What is Your Writer Genre?”

  1. Neva Bryan Says:

    Great thoughts, Dr. B, on writing and musical genres. I like to think of myself as Appalachian literary, but for the sake of marketing and so booksellers will know where to stash it, I put my novel (St. Peter’s Monsters) in the romantic suspense category. My poetry is definitely on the Appalachian side. I am an:


    I am coal dust and spun sugar,
    honeysuckle and vinegar,
    hollow and deadly as a cat’s paw.

    I nurse hummingbirds
    and herd spiders.

    I am your dulcimore,
    so strum a song
    along my skin.

    Pluck my tears
    and eat them like peaches.

    I am your Venus,
    rising from the kudzu,
    the viny sea.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Neva,

    Cool. I expect when Dr. Danny Fulks drops by here he is going to love your work.

    Dr. B

  3. newt221 Says:

    I like the poem above too. Thanks Doc for the mention. I actually love to sit down and let the words just pour out or my fingers. Some times I type so furiously in order to get the words out. Other time, they come slowly and with more thought. I am often inspired by things around me, as those who have read me know.

    I can’t wait for the arrival of your book…the little teases you give us just make my fingers itch to hold the actual book in my hands. The exerpts have me imagining all sorts of characters.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    Your writing is of dogs and farms and country tales; right down the bluegrass road. I always enjoy reading it.

    My agent believes we will see print in 2010. I think you are from the Charlotte area, so look for us at a bookstore near you.

    Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Dr. B.

    Here’s what I find to be helpful: If you tell yourself you are, YOU WILL BE. This is tough, I know. I’m a parent and have spent 22 years telling my kids what they are. Hopefully, most of it has been positive.

    Before I went to the writers conference in February, I had writer business cards made up. The lady who made them suggested that after my name, put the word “Author.” I said, “What? Even if I’m not published yet?”

    She replied, if you tell yourself, YOU WILL BE, and ended the email with “cheering you on.”

    I have to remember that every so often. It’s easy to forget.

    Good luck, Dr. B. And look me up on Facebook, although I’m trying to make myself scarce there.

  6. Billy Says:

    Damn Bibey, you have a weird ability to shake cobwebs I forgot I had.

    Years ago I lived down the road from the Enquirer’s offices in Lantana, Fla. In fact they had me substitute on their softball team a time or two. One of their writer/players wrote full time for the Palm Beach Post under his real name.

    One day I asked how he could write such lies under a fake name when he was a daily reporter for a Pulitzer winning paper.

    “Like softball, it’s fun. Everything I write is a TRUE STORY.” Then he looked straight at me, “If a story does not free the reader to escape, it’s worth nothing.”

    To this day, I cannot forget his eyes.

  7. drtombibey Says:

    Will do Ms Pande,

    So good to hear from you.

    Yeah, I kept on telling my agent I was a writer until he believed it. (I think)

    I knew one guy who had a card and all it had was his name and the word ‘expert.’

    I’ll try to find you on FaceBook. Tis easy to get lost in the shuffle there; that forum is huge! Send your old writing pal Tommy Bibey a friend request if you get a chance.

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:


    That kind of writer is a hero just a notch below Twain for me. I try my best to write that way.

    There must be something about me that strikes folks as familar. Every where I go people will say, “I have an Uncle in Indiana who looks just like you. He’s a G.P. Doc in Muncie. Do you know him?”

    Happens all the time. I can’t figure it out.

    Dr. B

  9. Hi, Dr. B,

    Genre is a tough one for me. When I was writing short fiction, I couldn’t identify the genre – is there a “none” or “no idea” category? I’d like to hear how writers who don’t know solve that problem.

    This past month, it’s been poetry – and again…no idea.

    I’d love some help.


  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pam,

    The impression your blog made on me was a voice for compassion, esp on end of life issues and for animals.

    Dr. B

  11. I like your genre, Doc, and as you know I can’t wait to aquaint myself with it properly!
    Having never finished more than short stories, I don’t know what my genre is. I lean towards the Fantasy and the Young Adult side of things, but this may change as I grow older. Who knows?

  12. drtombibey Says:

    ms slightly,

    Yours is hip but sophisticated young adult. It has to be for a teenager to write such in such a way that old (O.K., late middle aged) Docs enjoy your blog.

    Dr. B

  13. Susan Says:

    My genre is romance, Doc, but my sub-genres include paranormal and romantic suspense. Get’s confusing, doesn’t it? But I find much of this business is confusing until I spend some time working at it.
    Thanks for the mention!
    Susan Shay

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    Nothing wrong with having a unique niche. In fact, it is exactly what I would expect from a lady who is a mild-mannered suburban homemaker on weekdays and a rodeo star on the weekends.

    Dr. B

    • Susan Shay Says:

      I have a day-job outside the home, too. I work in the office of the family business. I’m the LMOTP.

      • drtombibey Says:

        Ms Susan,

        Oops. I hate to get things wrong. You are a triple threat; business woman, writer, rodeo star.

        Dr. B

  15. Neva Bryan Says:

    In the end, I don’t think the genre matters. Good writers, consciously or unconsciously, incorporate universal themes into their work. If the writing is good, readers in Peoria, Peru, and Pakistan will be able to find something with which they identify: love, grief, family, faith, food, sex, nature, home, war, and all those other things that bind human beings together.

  16. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Neva,

    Exactly right. All good artists just try to find and show the truth, and we are far more alike than different.

    Dr. B

  17. Karen Says:

    Thanks for mentioning me, Dr. B. 🙂

    As the good doctor said, I’m primarily a children’s author with a particular passion for picture books. The funny thing is that it’s taken me a while to accept both the genre and ‘style’ – for want of a better word – that comes most naturally to me. I had some strange heirarchical notion that children’s books weren’t ‘really’ books, until I remembered just how powerful those stories from my childhood were and realised what an amazing honour it is to have the opportunity to impact the life of a child. And as I write such short text for picture books (usually under 500 words) I have had to remind myself that that in itself is a talent. Not everyone can be succint and powerful at the same time, so I may as well embrace it, acknowledge what I love doing and run with it! It’s working for me so far…although I do like to dabble in other bits and pieces too.

    I have been freelancing writing some magazine articles aimed at parents (I figure I’m qualified to share some of my experiences after having 3 kids under 3 – most of them a comical retelling of the latest catastrophe in our house!) and I also have a few junior novels in the pipeline. I also have an-almost completed Christian adult novel to get back to some day…but I’m not exactly sure where it would fit genre-wise. I suppose, just like my kids’ books, it focuses on relationships, love, loss, dreams and the importance of living a life bigger than your own wants and needs. Is there a genre for that, Dr B.?

    You can find me at http://karencollum.wordpress.com if you’d like to pop over and visit – particularly if you’re a children’s author too! Those of us who have never quite forgotten what it’s like to be a child need to stick together and encourage each other along the road 🙂

  18. danny fulks Says:

    Everything has to be categorized for the library shelves and editors. I write nonfiction for Appalachians and anyone else who likes it; I am an Appalachian and write from personal experience augmented by research, a little knowledge of history and human behavior. But when not writing for professorial style I add a few creative images and avoid the word probable. I ask someone about an event 50 years ago. “What kind of car was it?” “What color was it?” I take that and use it, even looking up the type of engines available, other bits of color. If their memory was wrong–then I don’t worry about it. I just wrote a true story of the Patsy Cline plane crash, centered on one of the forgotten victims, Cowboy Copas. The pilot was Randy Hughes, Patsy’s manager and Copas’son-in-law. Reading about Randy’s fast life you could tell he was not the most careful pilot so I present him in that manner. On persoal essays, I change names, places, mix events from one event to another to make the theme work. So it’s highly truthful but nonfiction.
    Genre, shawnra. What’s it about?

  19. drtombibey Says:

    Ms Karen,

    I am reminded of a story I have written before.

    An elderly lady was checking into the Nursing Home. The social worker asked, “How was your childhood?”

    The lady replied, “So far, so good.”

    Maybe your genre is ‘For grown-ups with the heart of a child.’

    Dr. B

  20. drtombibey Says:

    Dr. Fulks,

    I agree and so did Ms. Neva there. It ain’t the genre so much as the truth as best we can find it.

    Dr. B

  21. Kim Justesen Says:

    Sometimes I feel like “genre-schmenre” – if someone likes a book, what does it matter which pigeon-hole an editor or critic stuck it in? Emily Dickinson’s great poem, Tell all the Truth, but Tell it Slant, has to be the best summation of how I feel about any kind of writing, literary or otherwise.

    More power to you, Doc.

    Kim J.

  22. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Kim,

    Jerry Clower said if you hear it three times it must be scripture, and I have a high respect for each person who made the point, so it must be true. If you show the truth it doesn’t matter what you call it, huh?

    I appreciate your input. I have learned much from my visits to your weblog.

    I have given everyone a byline, so yours is ‘tough love makes for great books.’ I like it that you don’t paint the book process as an easy road.

    Dr. B

  23. Mrs. Chili Says:

    “We can all only be what we are.”

    I like this. I wish more people understood it; there’d be a lot less sorrow and anger in the world if they did.

    I’m not sure WHAT my genre would be. Most of my writing is, I think, in the genre of creative non-fiction (which is what I suspect your writing is, too, Doc). I’m an inquisitive personal journalist; I take what I see, I think about it, then I try my best to represent it in a way that changes the names to protect the innocent.

  24. drtombibey Says:


    As we say in bluegrass, you’re a good’un. The line on you for me is “such a fine English teacher she can even keep old rowdy bluegrass Docs in line and teach them a thing or two.” (I was too rambunctious in High School)

    Like you, I have to write in a way also that protects folk’s privacy. Sometimes I think I protect the guilty, though!

    All peace and tranquilty to you and yours, chili.

    Dr. B

  25. Rekx Says:

    Ha! I am the Joe Biden of the SPBFW!! Pretty cool!

  26. drtombibey Says:

    Ah Lawd Rekx, we all have our crosses to bear. All of us mando cats have to stick together.

    Dr. B

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