What makes us gravitate to certain genres?
I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction since as far back as I can remember reading. I had a fascination with anything ‘true story’, going back to the days my mother left her rag magazines openly displayed on her bedroom night table. I do believe one of them was in fact called ‘True Confessions’.
I grew up as a child who felt compelled to keep up with the goings on in my growing up life, feeling as though I lived on a perpetual wheel of a ‘need to know’ basis. So, I’m pretty sure my curiosity about life and people began at an early age. I needed to know the truth and the whys about things. My chosen genre of reading preference came natural to me. I loved to learn fascinating stories about people, their dilemmas and resolutions. and I’d imagine myself – inserting myself in other’s stories forcing myself to think about how I would deal with that situation.
My hobby of studying people came to me by the time I was 7 or 8. And my mother was a fascinating subject to begin with. I was approaching 9 years of age, and when having to spend ‘electronic-less’ weekends at my paternal, orthodox grandparents’ house, I began reading the newspaper—mainly, the advice columns by ‘Dear Abbie’ and ‘Dear Ann Landers’. I was fascinated by the idea that any random person could write a letter to these famous ladies who appeared to have all the magical solutions for people’s problems.
As the years progressed, to add some spice to my reading pleasure, I moved into reading women’s and historical fiction, and the odd book in the Chick-lit genre as a ‘great escape’ type of read. Of course, I do love me a good thriller too. After all, I do like to learn what motivates the antagonists too, to learn what spurs their evil ways. Even as a child I’d opt for a paperback over comics any day. People have always fascinated me, and I had developed a passionate curiosity of people and what makes us all tick. I’d take a true story over a fairytale anytime.
I do also enjoy watching certain themed types of TV shows to satisfy my entertainment and curious pleasure. I love an engaging storyline that makes me think, as opposed to watching mindless TV. Thinking is how I relax. Although I do know that thinking is an action word, my relaxing is me always doing something, keeping busy, even while watching TV. My go to favorites: documentaries, historical WWII era survival stories, family sagas, medical and legal dramas. Why do I gravitate to such shows? Because these kinds of shows all encompass a sense of the human condition. These may seem like differing genres, but in effect, all these genres tie in with human relationships, saving people, injustices, compassion and sometimes redemption.
I also enjoy watching police serials such as Dateline and Twenty/Twenty. As sad as these shows can be to watch, they ignite the element of human nature and emotion, demonstrating what makes people motivated to do the things they do, for both the good and the bad.
I suppose it’s plain to see I enjoy writing about what I also like to watch, read and observe. So, depending on the genre of our choice, we often write about things we’ve seen and observed and translate into a story that fits best in our preferred genres of writing. For me it’s truth and why that captures my attention.
One doesn’t have to go much further than their own couch to study people. There is much to be learned from human behavior from watching TV. Crime, justice, medical shows all involving the human condition–reasons for actions, actions despite consequences, desperation inspired crimes, manipulation – it’s all connected to the human spirit. And I just find human beings fascinating to study.