205. Genre Adultery

As of today, I have committed genre adultery.

(it’s like adultery, just not punishable by law)

Over the past week, I have been writing a story titled A Time To Love, an excerpt of which you have read in the post two days ago. Having written and edited it, the story came up to 7,414 words. Effectively the longest short story I have ever written.

The story revolves around a girl who’s (mis)using a time machine to save a guy from the past so that she can be with him. It goes as well as you think it might.

What makes this story different is:

ONE: It’s a romance story.

God knows that Joseph Ng does not write romance stories. I write fantasy, horror, slice of life, science fiction, crime fiction, western fiction, but not romance. Never romance. It’s a place that my mind doesn’t explore. Like the lingerie section of the departmental store, I just don’t go there.

TWO: It’s a serious story.

And God knows that when I do write something with a romantic flavor, it inevitably ends up as a parody. Made for laughs. A Time To Love, however, takes itself super seriously.

And that was how I committed genre adultery. I imagine people seeing that I’ve written a new story, and they click on it, expecting a tongue-in-cheek story about devils or people in space, and end up with a teenage girl trying to win the affection of a boy.


I hear it’s why writers sometimes write under a pseudonym. I mean, that makes sense – you wouldn’t go and commit adultery under your own name. Mr. King, Ms. Rowling, Ms. Krentz… The one author I know who didn’t do it is Ms. Applegate, who metaphorically flipped the bird at whoever didn’t like her style, and went on to write in whatever genre she damn well wanted to.

(Ms. Applegate also won last year’s Newberry Medal. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here)

But it’s all part of being human, I guess. We’re comfortable with things that are predictable. I, for one, stayed away from KFC for a long while when they couldn’t decide if they wanted to keep their spicy chicken recipe or not, and were changing it for Korean Spice or Pineapple Crunch or some other crap every 2 months.

Imagine the panic if Microsoft decides that it’d like to go into F&B.

Maybe it’s something I should consider doing in the long run. Writing under a pseudonym. Though with the number of genres I so ambitiously want to write, I’ll be handling anywhere between 5 to 10 different pen names.

Even if people know it’s really me writing those books, at least the name should give them an indication of what kind of story it is, I suppose. Imagine if someone likes Johann’s Fantastic Adventures Through Time, and decides to get A Murder of Crows for their children, thinking it’s an educational book.

But anyway, in case any of you are interested, here it is – A Time To Love:



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