We all know that genres are VERY MUCH a “thing” in regular fiction. Tons of readers settle into one genre and read that genre exclusively. And when they find a writer they like, they will probably expect (perhaps demand) that writer to keep cranking out more of what they like. And assuming there are sales, writers are generally happy to oblige, writing to market, or at least writing to tropes, trying to hit all the expected beats while also keeping things fresh. But as we know, our little ecosystem here is not regular fiction. So what are the differences in this regard?
To CoG/HG customers/players/readers/fans (however you’d like to be identified), when a CoG or HG writer creates a game in a certain genre, do you anticipate that the writer will continue writing in that genre? At the very least, would you prefer them to?
To CoG/HG writers, do you have a preferred genre in which to create games/stories? Do you consider yourself to have a brand? If so, is the brand connect to your chosen genre, your personality, or something more nebulous, like an element of writing that’s always present in your works?
I ask all of this because a player had asked me if I was going to go outside the superhero genre after the CCH series is concluded. I already have several ideas for “post CCH writing life” that include:
- More Zip? (obviously supehero, and obviously would have to be approved by CoG)
- Superhero romance? (I feel I’d need a co-writer for this one)
- A superhero Lit/RPG game, sort of a mash-up of “Upload” and “Ready Player One”
- Talon City (fantasy, and about 25% done, but very different than anything I’ve done).
Part of me wants to keep going with superhero and really lean into the brand I have developed thus far, but honestly I wonder, in this world of interactive fiction and gaming, does anyone on the customer side care about author brands? If not, then why not take the (rare) opportunity to write in different genres?
When you see an author’s name pop up on the “Upcoming Games” threads, do you think to yourself, “Ah! Another game from Author X! I sorta know what to expect! That’s a must buy!”
Are you such a huge fan of a given genre that when you see a game description that seems to hit that genre, you’re like, “Yup, those are the trappings/tropes/storylines that I like! Must buy!”?
If you’ve been buying let’s say romance games from an author, and she turns around and writes a horror story next, would you be put off? Would you follow the author to such a different genre or just focus on other romance games that would be coming out? What would inform your decision?
So for customers/fans, which of these best sums up your approach to buying and supporting these products and writers?
- I tend to follow and support CoG/HG/HC authors who write in my preferred genres.
- I tend to follow and support CoG/HG/HC authors whose writing/plotting I enjoy; I’m not picky about genres.
- I’m more interested in the genre than the author when it comes to buying CoG/HG/HC games.
- I don’t think about genre much. I can be hooked by things like promotional blurb, cover, story length, etc., regardless of genre.