As a writer, genre is the first consideration you make before embarking on a new project. It’s more of a personal tendency, and rarely more than that. The categories are few, long-established and seldom expanded.
How is creativity to thrive in such confinement? It seems like this question has been posed by many in this modern age, resulting in experimentations in all directions.
Within genres, there are subgenres. Next, the path is even further split into various niches which—followed by formats, techniques, POVs, voice, and style—brings uniqueness to each piece of work. As with numbers and letters, the combinations are endless.
Yet, as if this is not enough, writers are probing beyond, trying to break out of any limitations put upon their work. Nowadays, everything is possible.
Literature sufficiently matured to break free not only from taboos in subjects, but also in format, setup, position and the like. It almost reminds of the boom in the visual arts.
Today’s reader should be ready for surprise. A few of my recent encounters were: a text consisted only of questions; a book by a French writer covering the letter correspondence between her and a screenwriter, working out subtle details in her life in the pursuit of a future collaborative creative project; a Croatian work in which after each chapter there were blog comments of the writer’s work-in-progress that slowly developed into the story; a series of short stories coupled to make hundreds of combinations either as a chain, string, circle etc.
These modern works are trying to be anti-genres, if anything. And what is an anti-genre if not an active attempt to evade categorization, to transcend all genres.
So there it is. Tradition can be cast away. New ideas are impatiently awaited. It’s an opportunity for all those projects that have been put away and locked in a drawer. The audience is eager to receive a novelty, without ignorance and judgement.
Previously, this prospect was reserved only for avant-garde writers – those who couldn’t quite be understood by the general public and were considered visionaries for what was to become a fashion in the future.
Now you can be the avant-garde; an accepted and appreciated avant-garde feeding the hungry masses with the imagination set free.
Are you breaking free of traditional confinement and writing an anti-genre?
Think of an unusual format you’d like to explore and write for fifteen minutes on a free topic. Remember not to have any constraints whatsoever and feel free to experiment as much as you like. Also, be kind and support your fellow practitioners.