Friday, 8 November 2013

Which is the Genre for You?

I used QuizFarm to make a quasi-personlity test to determine which genre would give you the most opportunities to express your worldview and explore the questions that you find most interesting, as per this point (link). It's not, of course, supposed to indicate which genre you prefer; I submit that you might actually be more inclined to dislike examples of your best genre because they'll touch on the questions you're interested in, and there's a good chance they'll do so in ways that bug you. (For instance, Philip Pullman dislikes the Narnia books because he thinks they address the right questions in terrible ways.)

In general, I tried to make questions about the kind of beliefs you have--what the beliefs are about, how you think about them--more than what your opinions are. After all, coming-of-age novels usually have something about protagonists adopting or rejecting their society's conventions, but the author could prefer either adoption or rejection. Westerns have a spectrum of stances on morality, from very grey morality to black-and-white morality, but they are almost always interested in whether people do (or can) make moral decisions in tough situations. So I tried to make sure my questions were about the general shape of that opinion rather than its specific content, unless that content really is a part of the genre (for instance, if you're going to write a horror story, you must think that something is worth being scared about).

Months ago I wrote a version of this quiz which you'd score with pencil-and-paper. It was a much different format (multiple choice), so I hope no artifacts from that previous format interfere with the one QuizFarm gave me. This new format has yes/no questions keyed to one particular result each. This means that you could, in theory, get 100% on all eight genres (or 0% on all eight), which wasn't true of the other format. In this case, I had to try to make sure there's enough differentiation between the genres that a participant would be highly unlikely to prefer more than, say, three genres. Hopefully giving a spectrum rather than merely Agree/Disagree will add a bit of differentiation. I guess if you get 0% on all of the genres, you likely have nothing to say.

If you take part, bear in mind that any score lower than 50% counts as negative. Of course, this is supposed to be for fun, not a diagnostic test. And this is not supposed to indicate what kind of story I think you should write, if you want to write one; the point is to figure out more about your own (or another's) worldviews, not to determine what a good story is!

The quiz is here: link.


J. C. said...

I enjoyed this test, although I would quibble with my scores. I wonder, however, if the different genres are comparable.
Genres like the Western are highly conventionalized forms such that one Western, in effect, is interesting insofar as it riffs on the the general formula.
"Genres" like Science-Fiction or even Mystery or Romance, on the other hand, are large umbrella categories which have a few things in common but are much too broad to allow for this kind of formalist play. The hard-boiled-detective story, the space opera, or the rom-com are, I think, much closer to being genres in that sense.

I don't know if that's a problem, or how to solve it if it is. But since you've written about this precise question, I wonder what the reasoning was behind your choice of options.

Christian H said...


I admit that I didn't give too much thought to the genres, except to choose ones that I felt I could accurately represent. I take your point particularly about the Romance/Rom-Com distinction. I was thinking almost entirely about comedic romance, not dramatic or tragic romance, while making this quiz. As for science fiction, I was thinking of hard science fiction in particular; in fact, this would probably exclude a lot of the space operas.

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