Here's a joke I heard the other day:
A father took his little daughter to see a new litter of puppies. When they got home, the girl told her mother, "We saw two girl puppies and two boy puppies!"
The mom said, "How could you tell?"
"Because Daddy picked them up and looked underneath. It was printed on the bottom!"
This got me thinking about labels. I for one hate labels. I hated them in high school and I hate them now. In high school I refused to fit into a stereotype of prep, jock, hippie, stoner, cowgirl, etc. Instead I dabbled in all of them and had friends in every so-called "type".
I feel the same way about kid's literature. I hate to say that I write YA Historical Fiction or MG Fantasy. Rather I want to say I write for kids. Any age of kids. And genres and branding be hanged. Does anyone else feel this way?
I'm sure that I'll have to face genre groupings once (if) I get published, but for now I've come to terms with my dislike and have decided thus:
I'll first write the best books I can--books that appeal to me--and then I'll worry about where they fit in.
Q4U: How do you feel about genre-bending and branding authors in chidren's lit? Where in your process do you start thinking about how your WIP fits in?